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Corruption as an immanent feature of neoliberalism

It is possible to drain the swamp?

News Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Recommended books Recommended Links "Fight with Corruption" as a smoke screen for neoliberal penetration into host countries Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Senator Bob Menendez
Corporatism Casino Capitalism Neoliberal Brainwashing Neoclassical Pseudo Theories  Corruption of Regulators New American Militarism Anatol Leiven on American Messianism
Financial Crisis of 2008 as the Crisis of Neoliberalism and shift to neo-fascism Two Party System as polyarchy Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Ayn Rand and Objectivism Cult The Deep State Harvard Mafia Deconstructing neoliberalism's definition of 'freedom'
Elite Theory The Iron Law of Oligarchy Compradors Fifth column Color revolutions Anti-globalization movement Inverted Totalitarism
Super Capitalism as Imperialism Media-Military-Industrial Complex If Corporations Are People, They Are Psychopaths Jeremy Grantham On The Fall Of Civilizations Psychological Warfare and the New World Order Neoliberalism as a Cause of Structural Unemployment in the USA Neoliberalism and inequality
Neoliberal corruption White collar crime Neo-fascism Neocons as USA neo-fascists     Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism
The Great Transformation   Friedman --founder of Chicago school of deification of market Republican Economic Policy Monetarism fiasco Small government smoke screen Gangster Capitalism
Libertarian Philosophy Media domination strategy  John Kenneth Galbraith Alternatives to neoliberalism Globalization of Financial Flows Humor Etc

Introduction

 The discussion below is reproduced with minor changes from  idec.gr (work in progress)

No political system is exempt from corruption and in my opinion this outcome might even be somehow inexorable due to the nature of a state based polity. The difference between  the European systems in particular but also, at the limit, the American one and those societies the US hypocritically claim as corrupt might be mainly based not on the extent of corruption, but on different types of corruption used. Partially this might be due to the fact that younger society which are still in formation  exhibit more "primitive" types of corruption then societies which have already passed the middle-age period in their life cycle. Revolving door corruption is rampant in the USA, but not so popular in Russia, Iran and other "younger" countries.  Old style bribes at the same time are more common in Russia, although in many cases they function not as bribe but as a kind of private insurance again prejudice/friction of the system: they help to prevent bias in the system or speed up processing of  a request,  but not materially affect outcome.

And to answer your question: "how to prevent the hijacking of public interest by state officials; protect the society form abuse of  the possibility of extracting private benefit inherent in large power of the state official?"

But there is another aspect of corruption which is pretty modern in origin. The dominant Western perspective on "governance" failed to highlight the major source of corruption -- neoliberalism as a social system. 

The neoliberal anti-corruption campaign served to hide the problems inherent in economic liberalization. It is variant of "blame the poor" (countries) line when instead of blaming neoliberal reforms themselves, neoliberals try to divert the attention from neoliberalism as a powerful force of enabling corruption  by highlighting other contributing factors such as

Over recent years,  IMF and World Bank have been promoting an artificially constructed discourse on corruption that separates it from its historic narrative -- the neoliberal political system under which it now flourish. They use pretty elaborate smoke screen designed to hide the key issues under the set of fuzzy terms such as "transparency", "accountability", "governance", "anticorruption initiatives". Ignoring the socio-political role of corruption of key mechanism of the neoliberal debt enslavement of peripheral nations  (see Confessions of an Economic Hit Man - Wikipedia

As Wikipedia points out there is no universally accepted definition of corruption. In this sense privatization might well be the most widespread type of corruption which occurs when an office-holder or other governmental employee acts in an official capacity to sell government property for pennies on the dollar to local oligarchs of international companies. with delayed payment via the "revolving door" mechanism.

If we assume that corruption is 'illegitimate use of government power to benefit a private interest" then neoliberalism is the most corrupt social system imaginable.

But in neoliberal ideology only the state is responsible for corruption. The private sector under neoliberalism is immune of any responsibility. In reality it is completely opposite and state represents a barrier to private companies especially international sharks to get unfair advantage. And they can use the USA embassy as a source of pressure instead of bribing government officials. Neoliberals argues without any proof that if the market is let to function through its own mechanisms, and the role of state diminished to a minimum regulatory role, "good governance" could be realized and corruption be diminished. As US subprime crisis has shown this is untrue and destroys the stability of the economy. 

Actually the term "governance" serves as the magical universal opener in neoliberal ideology. It is ideologically grounded up the narrative of previous mismanagement of economy ("blame the predecessor" trick).

This assumes the ideal economic sphere, in which players somehow get an equal opportunities automatically without regulatory role of the state and in case of peripheral nations without being strong armed by more powerful states. Under neoliberalism ethical responsibilities on players are reduced to the loyalty to contract.

Moreover antisocial behavior under liberalism is explicitly promoted (" greed is good") -- self-enrichment at the expense of others and society as a whole. Also the Western banks serve as a "treasure vault" for stolen money and Western states provides "safe heaven" for corrupt officials that face prosecution. At least this is true for Russian oligarchs when each crook automatically became "fighter for freedom" after landing in London airport and stolen money are indirectly appropriated by British state and never returned to Russia.

The USA is very similar. It likes to condemn corruption as but seldom returns that money stolen -- for example it never returned to Ukraine money stolen by Ukrainian Prime minister under President Kuchma Pavlo Lazarenko ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavlo_Lazarenko  )

Moreover in neoliberal ideology only the state is responsible for corruption, private sector under neoliberalism is immune of any responsibility. In reality it is completely opposite and state represents a barrier to private companies attempts to get unfair advantage, for example by bribing government officials. Neoliberals argues without any proof that if the market is let to function through its own mechanisms, and the role of state diminished to  a minimum regulatory role, "good governance" could be realized and corruption be diminished. As US subprime crisis has shown this is untrue and deregulation policies destroys the stability of the economy.

Actually the term "governance" serves as the magical universal opener in neoliberal ideology. It is ideologically grounded up in the narrative of previous mismanagement of economy ("blame the predecessor" trick). It also assumes the ideal economic sphere, in which players somehow get an equal opportunities automatically without regulatory role of the state. Ethical responsibilities on players are reduced to the loyalty to contract. Antisocial behaviour is explicitly promoted (" greed is good").  As Pope Francis noted

... Such an [neoliberal] economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.

Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “disposable” culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”.

54. In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase; and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.

No to the new idolatry of money

55. One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.

56. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.

No to a financial system which rules rather than serves

57. Behind this attitude lurks a rejection of ethics and a rejection of God. Ethics has come to be viewed with a certain scornful derision. It is seen as counterproductive, too human, because it makes money and power relative. It is felt to be a threat, since it condemns the manipulation and debasement of the person. In effect, ethics leads to a God who calls for a committed response which is outside of the categories of the marketplace. When these latter are absolutized, God can only be seen as uncontrollable, unmanageable, even dangerous, since he calls human beings to their full realization and to freedom from all forms of enslavement. Ethics – a non-ideological ethics – would make it possible to bring about balance and a more humane social order. With this in mind, I encourage financial experts and political leaders to ponder the words of one of the sages of antiquity: “Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs”.[55]

58. A financial reform open to such ethical considerations would require a vigorous change of approach on the part of political leaders. I urge them to face this challenge with determination and an eye to the future, while not ignoring, of course, the specifics of each case. Money must serve, not rule! The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor. I exhort you to generous solidarity and a return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favours human beings.

No to the inequality which spawns violence

59. Today in many places we hear a call for greater security. But until exclusion and inequality in society and between peoples is reversed, it will be impossible to eliminate violence. The poor and the poorer peoples are accused of violence, yet without equal opportunities the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and eventually explode. When a society – whether local, national or global – is willing to leave a part of itself on the fringes, no political programmes or resources spent on law enforcement or surveillance systems can indefinitely guarantee tranquility. This is not the case simply because inequality provokes a violent reaction from those excluded from the system, but because the socioeconomic system is unjust at its root. Just as goodness tends to spread, the toleration of evil, which is injustice, tends to expand its baneful influence and quietly to undermine any political and social system, no matter how solid it may appear. If every action has its consequences, an evil embedded in the structures of a society has a constant potential for disintegration and death. It is evil crystallized in unjust social structures, which cannot be the basis of hope for a better future. We are far from the so-called “end of history”, since the conditions for a sustainable and peaceful development have not yet been adequately articulated and realized.

60. Today’s economic mechanisms promote inordinate consumption, yet it is evident that unbridled consumerism combined with inequality proves doubly damaging to the social fabric. Inequality eventually engenders a violence which recourse to arms cannot and never will be able to resolve. This serves only to offer false hopes to those clamouring for heightened security, even though nowadays we know that weapons and violence, rather than providing solutions, create new and more serious conflicts. Some simply content themselves with blaming the poor and the poorer countries themselves for their troubles; indulging in unwarranted generalizations, they claim that the solution is an “education” that would tranquilize them, making them tame and harmless. All this becomes even more exasperating for the marginalized in the light of the widespread and deeply rooted corruption found in many countries – in their governments, businesses and institutions – whatever the political ideology of their leaders.

Neoliberals limit ethical component to adhering to contracts. However, the contracts themselves might be corrupt, or it can be forces upon other party under duress. It is important to see all those trick neoliberals use and develop a critical stance towards the Western anti-corruption "crusade" of the last decade. At least disclose all the hypocrisy behind it.  this is especially important as "corruption" serves as matches to flare up  "color revolutions" -- a new war strategy of penetrating of international capital into peripheral countries.

The key neoliberal argument is that corruption is an obstacle to "good governance" and economic development. They never evaluate corruption within a wider ethical frame as for example Pope Francis does, not they discuss the implications of neoliberal reforms on social rights.

In ethics corruption refers to a domination of social relations by self-interest and to the perception of fellow citizens as instruments, obstacles or competitors. “In the morally corrupt society, civic virtue and social responsibility are displaced and discarded in favor of an intense competition for spoils.” In neoliberal thinking, however, the term is narrowly defined referring to the misuse of public office for private gain by bureaucrats, which is just a tip of the iseberg, because it is the other party -- powerful translational or local oligarchs who are buying those government officials.

Thus the drastic shift in in defining the term after the 1980s coincide with triumphant mach of neoliberalism over the world.  While the state was supposed to produce public interest and common good before then, the emphasis shifted in the neoliberal era to the opportunities that public power provided for individual rent-seeking. This is harmonious with the assumptions of neoliberal approach to governance, which treats the state as an economic entity.

The notion of good governance  under neoliberalism  typically means market reforms and their political framework of deregulation and privatization. In reality both are cesspool of corruption. As the business started to build direct ties with the bureaucracy it automatically obtains a greater role in decision making, and as the capacity of the state to facilitate private personal rents in the market increased. So corruption served much to the restoration of the power of financial oligarchy under neoliberalism. Neoliberalism discard the necessity of national and planned development model of the Keynesian era in terms of facilitating and accelerating capital redistribution and accumulation, especially in transition economies. It is ironic that a neoliberal anti-corruption campaign led to tremendous level of corruption of privatization of industry in xUSSR countries and establishing (with direct help of the West)  a strata of powerful, corrupt, often criminal and closely linked to the West oligarchs.

This, on the other hand, the notion of corruption under neoliberalism is conceptualized in such a way that trivialize the value of state intervention in the economy, discard any notion of public interest, and even of national priorities in politics. In order to reverse the neoliberal domination as the ideology it is important to stress the fact that under neoliberalism the whole the arena over which market competition occurred is corrupt.  The players are not only unethical they are often criminal as recent investigation of TBTF banks had shown. This way is easier to bring ethics back into discussion of corruption and start to understand the without state interference it is impossible to have a fair market. Please note that neoliberals try to avoid discussion the notion of "fair market" substituting it with "free market" misnomer, which idealize the market  as the sphere of voluntary action and freedom. In reality it is far from that and in unregulated market bigger players simply squash or swallow  the small fish.

The Neoliberal Discourse on Corruption

The neoliberal discourse on corruption is based on a certain set of assumptions about state-society relations and on a certain stance about the role of state in economy. As Pinar Bedirhanoğlu argues, “the neoliberal conception of corruption is ahistoric, biased, contradictory and politicized, and has been induced by concerns over market competition rather than morality.” This is because neoliberal conceptualization of corruption has fulfilled significant functions in globalized economy and politics, particularly at moments of financial crisis, such as the 1997 East Asian financial crisis and in Turkey after the 2001 crisis.

 The neoliberal anti-corruption campaign served to hide the problems inherent in economic liberalisation and second generation of neoliberal reforms themselves by highlighting the so-called long history of crony state–business relations and patrimonial state in the South, referring either to the heritage of the ‘strong state tradition’ in Turkey, ‘the communist past’ in Russia, or the ‘corporatist past’ in Latin America.

 Identifying corruption either with the inherent characteristics of bureaucrats and politicians (this way distorting the key idea of public administration  -- providing service to the people) or traditional and cultural characteristics of certain regions helps idealizing the Western political and economic model under the name ‘good governance’. This approach also served for the world elites to partially overcome the legitimacy crisis that the Western states experienced since the 1980s by articulating the demand of democratic reforms ("export of democracy"), the language of "good governance", transparency, and building civil society (at the same time under this rhetoric destroying all the social achievements of welfare state). Using its dominance in MSM neoliberals manage to brainwash public to the extent it start behaving contrary to its own economic interests, and in the interests of financial oligarchy (What's the matter with Kansas)

Neoliberals stress that enlargement of market relations and reduction in state functions would provide not only economic efficiency but also freedom and democracy, by breaking up the monopolization of power. The market is accepted as the sphere of freedom since transactions within it are voluntary and decentralized. New Right theoreticians argue that freedom is the individual control over choices, and it is best exercised in a market economy.

Concept of "Governance" and forceful suppression of discussion of links between political and economical spheres of society

By the 1970s neolibrals started to remove "the excesses of democracy" of New Deal and European Welfare states. Cosial reforms on New Deal era were condemned for the economic troubles during the decade, as was also the Keynesian economy o which they were based.  Organized labour and mass movements were suppressed and as they deemed  to be incompatible with unconstrained capitalist accumulation.

Keynesianism was blamed for expanding political decisions into the realm of economics, as if the desired non-political character of economy in not just another policy, just favoring big ploayers instead of small fish. It if such approach is not political. Welfare reforms came to be regarded as an anomaly, as an obstance to economic development. And crusing orgnized labour was presented as return to the normal distinction between economic and political spheres. However, the "de-economization" of politics under neoliebral was just a smoke screen decsined to hide accesnce to power of finacnial olitachy, the political force supressed by New Deal. So it was a countrrevolution not a revolution. And instead of promotion of democracy it resulted in promotion of  authoritarianism ans police state (national Security State) were protection of financial olitarchy is disguied as "fight against terrorisrm". Public debate on the policy of taxation, privatization, on the forced retreat of state from social sectors, about the level of autonomy of Central Bank etc., was forcefully supressed.

So, to maintain the neolibel system the elites forcefully suppress and hide the relationship between economy and politics.

The term ‘governance’ started to be positively used by all parties to describe the political form of global market economy. It is defined as ‘governance without government’. Theories of governance argued that while government refers to formal acts and procedures at state level, governance is based on a network of informal relations at all levels. It assumes an interdependency between nations, between nations and international organizations, and between nations and transnational or subnational structures.

Governance aims at organizing the state and social life in general, along market relations. Even the state itself is dealt as if it is a business administration job. Politics is identified with corruption, nepotism, partisanship etc., and the parliamentarian and political party systems are regarded negatively as sources of populism, which harmed much the functioning of the economy.8

Making economic decisions turned out to be the job of technocrats, who were claimed to be neutral professionals applying the objective rules of the game called economy. Legislation and regulation are increasingly carried out by non-parliamentary and non-governmental agents. A neo-corporatist structure is developing in which interest groups and specialized policy networks represent themselves in a market-like sphere of politics. As expert knowledge “as opposed to popular, common-sensical, everyday knowledge” of the people tends to prevail, the democracy of citizens is being replaced by the democracy of organized interest and lobbies. So, as Jean Grugel states, globalisation

Use of "fight with corruption" as the Trojan horse for neoliberalization of economy

The neoliberal anticorruption campaign served to hide the problems inherent in economic liberalisation and second generation of neoliberal reforms themselves by highlighting the so-called long history of crony state – business relations and patrimonial state in the South. Governance are not neutral processes with regard to their effects on state and society.10 The neoliberal discourse on corruption should be dealt accordingly. According to the neoliberal approach state is regarded as “the simple sum of profit maximising bureaucrats and politicians”, and corruption is assumed to arise for the rents created by the holding of offices. It is perceived as if exploitation and corruption are intrinsic characteristics of the state itself rather than representing its abuse. The underlying state– market dichotomy has led to an understanding of corruption primarily as a problem of the state.11 Those corrupt actions which necessitate the existence of public power –the state- as one of the parties of a mutual relation, such as bribery or extortion are mostly emphasized in the literature. Fraud or embezzlement, on the other hand, can be found in the private sector as well. While control mechanisms and measures are regarded sufficient in the private sector and corruption cases are not related to the nature of the property ownership, the state cannot benefit from such an exemption. This cannot be evaluated independently from the neoliberal attack against public ownership. It is for certain that public power is manipulated to gain economic advantage but so is economic power in private sphere.

Neoliberal discourse assumes that corruption is a phenomenon of the public sector. This interpretation “obscures the rising possibilities for private sector corruption caused by market-led economic reforms and has little to say about the complex linkages between abuses in the private and public sectors”.

Neoliberals regard the public sector as the major source of corruption, which is explained through the rent-seeking behaviour of individual public servants. This is based upon highly questionable conceptualizations of human motivation and a very poor understanding of the state. Their major objective is limited to explaining how the activities of public servants distort the efficient functioning of markets.

Ed Brown and Jonathan Cloke counter the view that the state is inherently more prone to corruption than the private sector. They argue that this, for example, leads to a lack of recognition of the opportunities for corruption that privatization and deregulation have provided. Even the World Bank accepts that transition to market economy has created fertile ground for corruption.

Since neoliberal discourse has a very limited conceptual understanding of the nature and functioning of the state and its relation to civil society, there appears certain inconsistencies. For example the writers refer to contradiction between the creation of new public bodies within institutional reform programmes and the assumption that public officials are primarily motivated by self-interest, and they question the hidden assumption that the workers within those anti-corruption offices were likely to be less corrupt than other public sector workers claimed to be naturally prone to rent-seeking behaviour.

Putting “public sector corruption as the most severe impediment to development and growth”, and moreover, claiming such things that bribery “distorts sectoral priorities and technology choices (by, for example, creating incentives to contract for large defence projects rather than rural health clinics specializing in preventive care)” is unfair and misleading. Corrupt behaviour is not limited to state officials; idealizing private sector actions while attacking state sector is at best naive. It is impossible to deny the motives for unethical behaviour in private sector and it is claimed that even the economic liberalization after 1980s, pointed as the solution of corruption problems, opened the path of corporate corruptions.

Since 1990s anti-corruption agenda has been promoted in developing countries through the reform programmes of the international financial institutions. It is not easy to determine whether an overall increase in corruption led to the anti-corruption campaign. Critical studies highlight the instrumentalization of anti-corruption discourse. Ed Brown and Jonathan Cloke argue that there was little reliable evidence to determine if corruption levels had been worsening or whether there has simply been increasing legal and public recognition of corruption cases or perhaps even the conscious manipulation of public sensitivity about the issue.

The example of Turkey is worth mentioning. Coming to the office to recover Turkish economy after the Keynesianism was blamed for expanding political decisions into the realm of economics, as if the desired non-political character of economy was not something political. (14 Ibid., p 287-91 and P. Bedirhanoğlu, “The Neoliberal Discourse on Corruption as a Means of Consent) 2001 financial crisis, Minister of Economic Affairs, now the UNDP President Kemal Derviş, have then explained the causes of the crisis with reference to the corrupt banking structure in Turkey and skilfully introduced the neoliberal discourse that associates anti-corruption porely with failures of  the implementation of the neoliberal reforms.

Through this discourse, neoliberal institutionalisation in Turkey which had been proceeding back and forth because of the resistance of various social forces for about a decade accelerated. Since this competition-induced concern over corruption was articulated within the moral based debates in domestic politics, the strategy received public consent.

The international ‘crusade’ against corruption does not fight with corruption itself but in the first place “promotes commerce, uniformity in commercial law and the associated disciplines of the market as indirect constraints on the conduct of states themselves”. In this respect, Barry Hindess regards the international anti-corruption campaign labelled as the promotion of good governance as an updated version of the older system of capitulations, which required independent states to acknowledge the extraterritorial jurisdiction of Western states in the area of commercial law.

Many scholars underline the conscious attempt of neoliberals to use corruption as a strategy for enabling neoliberal policies and try to demonstrate the consequences or by-products of international anti-corruption campaign of the last decade. One of those consequences is the strengthening of executive power and the growing role of international financial institutions. To overcome this problems that undermine state legitimacy, politics of civil society is gradually articulated in the campaign.

Despite their anti-state stance neoliberals are well aware of the continuing functions of state as a coercive and legitimizing body in regulating society. A central role is attached to the state in the launching of anticorruption policies. Pinar Bedirhanoğlu describes this as “to put the foxes in charge of the chicken house if it is recalled that corruption is assumed to be intrinsic to the state in rentier state theories”. To balance the state and prevent it from following a national program external pressure imposed by international financial institutions, NGOs, private sector, autonomous regulatory agencies, regional development agencies is applied. Rent-creation capacity of these bodies are usually disregarded. Practical monopoly of technical expertise makes such institutions extremely powerful and unaccountable.

As to the NGOs, in our case to those fighting against corruption, the question below is worth asking: “Can NGOs and similar organizations really help socialize citizens into the system, or do they rather represent a means by which citizens abdicate responsibility for active citizenship, and leave responsibility for political engagement with NGO staff?”.

Demet Dinler states that anti-corruption measures were functional in the redefinition of the relationship between the economic and the political. They emerged as a legitimating mechanism to justify market reforms and the separation of the economic from the political, because the ‘failure’ of the first generation reforms we explained by the continuing dominance of the political over the economic. “Corruption has been conceptualized as a ‘purely political’ phenomenon, related only to the politicians and their bureaucratic companions, by ignoring the major role of the businessmen in corruption and rentseeking.”

While the neoliberal concern on corruption is market-based and competition-induced at the international level, the domestic debates on corruption rest on moral grounds. This, according to Pınar Bedirhanoğlu, indicate different attitudes of capital and popular classes towards corruption. That of the latter seems to provide a more political ground. Corruption is undoubtedly harmful to the public interest through whatever medium we build the relation. However, it would be in vain to expect that the funds “rescued from the grasp of the corrupt public servant or politician” will be spent on good causes, such as education or health facilities for the poor.

The discourse of governance reduces morality to the loyalty to contract. However, we argue that the contract itself might be corrupt, if corruption is defined in ethical terms as the public opinion perceives it. The next part of the study will deal with the collapse of welfare policies and the transformation of labor market in this framework. 

A neoliberals also develop , cultivate and support interest groups and specialized policy networks which promotes neoliberalism and separation of politics and economics.

Attack of social rights as the mean to restore profitability in the environment of end of "cheap oil"

In the aftermath of the depression, the WWII and Keynesian revolution, the state actively intervened into the economy, helping to manage the conflicts arising from market competition In terms of its institutional and policy role, social provision was central to accumulation, helping to socialize consumption over the life-course and the reproduction of labor power. The success of the consolidation and expansion of welfare systems in virtually every Western country from 1950 through the early 1970s had two profound consequences for the political economy of welfare systems today. First, any attack on or defense of a welfare system must now operate along three distinct, yet interrelated, spheres: the economic, political and the cultural. Second, with welfare systems so successfully integrated into the institutional make-up of nations, the politics of welfare encompass far more than political wheeling and dealing over national budgets. Although expenditure levels remain important, the politics of welfare are increasingly about a nation’s class, racial, generational, and gender divisions. As an object of struggle and conflict, then, welfare politics reflect the interest of myriad social forces, such as employers’ associations, poverty groups, small business, social movements, and trade unions. Recent conflict over welfare systems has been intense, with government action from above and recipient reaction from below being very contentious.

However, both the ‘Golden Age’ of capitalism and the ‘Golden Age’ of social reforms came to an end with the worldwide economic slump of 1974-82, a crisis which covered two distinct generalized recessions separated by a weak recovery. In a long and drawn out process, the 1974-82 economic slump led to a new consensus in economic policy across the advanced capitalist economies. In the early 1980s, a neoliberals started a real offensive with the distinct goals of engineering an economic recovery and restoring profitability by redistributing the wealth up.

Destruction of New Deal and Welfare-state Social Policies

In altering the parameters of state intervention, neoliberalism rejected and turned away from the post-war reliance on the social right and more fair distribution of the results of  economic activity. The return of mass unemployment, industrial downsizing, the liberalization of capital flows and a rearticulating of hegemony of financial capital all changed the terrain of capitalist relations, destroying the post-war accord between the capital and labor.  Through neoliberalism coercive redistribution of wealth up started in full force. The emerging stage of ‘transnational capitalism’ is marked by high levels of capital mobility and economic integration between countries (some reduced to supplies of raw materials, like in classic neocolonialism) and defined by capital’s interaction with multiple states and an intensification of international competition. In this new political economic context, welfare systems are facing a number of transformatory pressures, including the erosion of government autonomy over social provision, integration induced convergent welfare effects and welfare system rivalry.

Neoliberal transformation of society put strong downward pressure on welfare systems. Apart from weakening organized labor outright, neoliberalism targets the economic, social and political costs of welfare. As John O’Connor argues for most of the 1990s, welfare systems in the advanced capitalist countries were the object of intense conflict between employers and workers. Governments fought hard to cut the cost of pensions, health care and benefit payments, while unions struggled to protect their longstanding social gains.26 In reshaping welfare systems, employers have been seeking to lower costs, improve labor market flexibility and reduce budget deficits. This is all being done to further international competitiveness and to help restore profitability. Defensive struggles over welfare systems have not been able to stop the retrenchment of social provision. Governments have embarked also on strategies of shifting the role of public and private sector via massive privatization of state assets, in which the private sector acquired public sector assets (as well as responsibilities and activities at discounted prices. Neoliberal policies resulted in globalization of capital and goods flows. It also led to mass outsourcing / off-shoring of whole industries to third world countries. The capability of swashing the cost of labor has been an important factor for multinational corporations. That is why reducing the cost of labor has been a major area by developing countries to compete against each other. Instead of permanent employment neoliberalism prefers the part-time labor / contractor  economy, were employees have not  social rights and minimal social protection.

There is a growing sense that social policies are taking new directions as policy debates move from an earlier embrace of privatization and marketization, to the task of retooling the state to face new social risks and to reproduce the social (social cohesion, social capital, social inclusion, social economy).27 Welfare system today have been openly scrutinized and challenged by Neoliberal approaches have regarded the public sector as the major source of corruption, which is explained through the rentseeking behaviour of individual public servants, politicians, employers, citizens, and tax payers as never before in the vast majority of Western nations. The roots of this scrutiny and challenge have been the subject of much political and scholarly debate. As economic globalisation has progressed, nation states have forfeited sovereignty to supra-national organizations and treaties, such as the Group of Seven, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the European Union (EU) and the North American Free Trade Union (NAFTA). These agencies and Organisations represent a complicated shift in political economic governance from the domestic level toward the supranational.29 With trans-state accumulation, there has been a move within many nations to move from ‘discretionary-based’ to ‘rule-based’ policy making.

This move toward rules is an attempt to implement mechanisms that automatically force domestic policy to reflect the changes associated with the global economy; e.g., the EU, the WTO, the IMF or World Bank.

Welfare retrenchment is sold to the public in terms of it being more a dictate of rules or logic of the global economy. Welfare systems are viewed now as national luxuries that cannot be afforded in the global economy. Given the enhanced exit options in today’s world, the political relationship among capital, the state and welfare coalitions have been recast. Capital mobility – or the threat of capital mobility – has the effect of forcing workers/unions and welfare coalitions into making concessions.31 Because capital is mobile, it can take an extremely aggressive stance in wage bargaining or in political negotiations. Trans-state accumulation has enhanced the power of capital, while leaving labour and welfare coalitions politically impotent. In addition to the usual concern over immigration, unemployment and population aging, it is obvious that governments in Europe and North America point to the pressures of economic globalisation as being one of the main reasons behind social cutbacks.

This offensive against the public sector in general and social systems in particular is universal and the language of globalisation has been central to this neoliberal assault.

As with the recasting of class relations, remaking the mode of production and reorganizing accumulation, neoliberalism seeks to restructure labour markets, making them more responsive to competitive forces. The integration of domestic economies has opened the door to welfare system social dumping effects, in which the benefits and services in one country are lowered the ward off any potential competitive disadvantages relative to another.32 Social dumping effects reflect governments’ concern that high ‘social cost’ will undermine a nation’s international competitiveness.

Given the rapid changes in the world market and the intensification of competition, an adaptable workforce and flexibility in the hiring and firing of workers are considered valuable economic assets. In general terms, economic flexibility can refer to the ability of capitalist enterprises to adjust their productive strategies, the ability of workers to move from one job to another and the ability of wage levels to move according to prevailing economic conditions.33

The early 1980s employers’ offensive was launched to restore profitability. neoliberal transformative action aimed to reorder post-war capitalism’s structural and institutional arrangements. This neoliberal reordering unleashed the economic transforming tendencies of state rationalisation, market contestability, and factor mobility (‘coercive competition’) on all nations. The importance of coercive competition is that it simultaneously acted on and transcended domestic institutional-policy frameworks.

In this new political economic context, domestic social systems faced a number of transformatory pressures, including the erosion of government autonomy over social provision, integration induced convergent welfare effects, and welfare system rivalry. The prime source of retrenchment pressures was that the mobile capital has an aversion to anything that contributes to competitive locational disadvantage. These pressures were dealt with politically determines the nature and scope of welfare system retrenchment. It is obvious that the explanation of globalisation has become a force “helping to create the institutional realities it purportedly merely describes.”34 Recent welfare practice reflects discursive practices that communicate an “apolitical logic of inevitabilism” that rules out all alternatives to globalisation and welfare retrenchment.35 

The early 1980s employers’ offensive was launched to restore profitability. Neoliberal transformative action aimed to reorder post-war capitalism’s structural and institutional arrangements.

Conclusions

As a political strategy neoliberalism tries to restore profitability at the expense of social well-being of population. the problem of corruption is used as smoke screen for penetration into third world countries and for extracting raw materials at low, globalised prices.  Through such organizations as WTO a global market was created where raw materials prices are nearly same in the world and goods can flow globally without borders and customs . This situation transforms the world economies into an open market and also open production islands not just for goods also for services also. That is why the competition continues over labor costs where states can still compete over. This competition made the governments cut out welfare expenditures to reduce costs of production.

Through this neoliberal transformative action and discourse states are eliminating workers post-war social gains and social protections such as  guaranteed pension, health care and benefit payments. This is done  to improve labor market flexibility and reduce budget deficits. Apart from weakening labor rights, neoliberalism also redistributes wealth by eliminating  high taxes to upper brackets of population, reducing the cost of welfare and privatizing those saving by financial sector.

Neoliberalism creates "race to the bottom" -- a competition between developing countries in reducing the cost of labor  and also generates an informal economy without any social rights of labor. Finally both capital mobility and economic integration have undermined the ability of national governments to pursue welfare objectives.

We should label the behaviour of perceiving social rights as a competitiveness tool rather than a means for meeting vital needs of humans a corrupt behaviour. So corruption is an immanent feature of neoliberalism. That sort of normative questions raised by pope Francis helps to understand deeper the role of  corruption in the neoliberal society. In will not be exaggeration to say the neoliberal society is based on corruption.  In other words, by redefinition corruption in terms of domination of social relations by self-interest, and regarding of fellow citizens as instruments, obstacles and competitors, we get deeper understanding of problem of corruption and related straggle against it the neoliberal era. That seems the best possible to fight corruption under neoliberalism is to fight neoliberal policies and to remembrance the ideas of New Deal which provided better the integrity of the economic and the political like of the society.


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[Oct 22, 2019] The main line of Republican attacks on Warren might be that she is not trustworthy

Oct 22, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Warren (D)(1): "Elizabeth Warren to put out plan on how to pay for 'Medicare for All'" [ CNN ]. • "Pay for" being both delusional and a question nobody, including Warren, ever asks about war, and "taxes on the middle class" being, shall we say, a well-worn, content-free trope.

Warren (D)(2): "Why Criticize Warren?" [Nathan Robinson, Current Affairs ]. "What will the right's main line of attack against Warren be? I think you can see it already, actually: They will attempt to portray her as inauthentic and untrustworthy. She will be painted as a Harvard egghead who has suddenly discovered populism for self-serving reasons, a slippery elite who isn't telling you the truth about her agenda . What worries me about Elizabeth Warren is that the criticisms of her as untrustworthy are not easy to wave away. Warren began her 2020 campaign with a video claiming to be a Native American, even though she isn't one. She has now tried to bury the evidence that she did this, by deleting the video and all accompanying social media posts .

I have tried, so far, to avoid lapsing into the usual discussions of "Bernie Sanders versus Elizabeth Warren," but here I should note that one reason I think Bernie Sanders is such a powerful potential candidate against Trump is that he doesn't have these kind of messy problems of authenticity and honesty.

The thing almost nobody denies about Bernie is that you know where he stands."

As The Big Picture says above. This is a massive takedown, and I've focused on a single, tactical issue, but this post is a must-read in full. If it's correct, the Warren campaign is a train-wreck waiting to happen.

(Adding, the Cherokee issue really matters to me, because the Penobscots were enormously powerful allies in the fight against the landfill (and cf. Standing Rock). It just drives me bananas that Warren didn't check in with the Cherokees before declaring herself one of them. I think it's an outrage, and I don't care if I get eye-rolls for it.)

[Oct 20, 2019] How did the United States become so involved in Ukraine's torturous and famously corrupt politics? The short answer is NATO expansion

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... How did the United States become so involved in Ukraine's torturous and famously corrupt politics? The short answer is NATO expansion <= maybe something different? I like pocketbook expansion.. NATO Expansion provides cover and legalizes the private use of Presidential directed USA resources to enable a few to make massively big profits at the expense of the governed in the target area. ..."
"... Hypothesis 1: NATO supporters are more corrupt than Ukraine officials. ..."
"... Hypothesis 2: NATO expansion is a euphemism for USA/EU/ backed private party plunder to follow invade and destroy regime change activities designed to dispossess local Oligarchs of the wealth in NATO targeted nations? Private use of public force for private gain comes to mind. ..."
"... A lot of intelligence agency manipulation and private pocketbook expanding corruption can be hidden behind NATO expansion.. Please prove to me that Biden and the hundreds of other plunders became so deeply involved in Ukraine because of NATO expansion? ..."
"... As it is right now, the most likely outcome of the Western initiative in Ukraine will be substantially lower living standards than there would be otherwise for most Ukrainians. ..."
"... The US actions in Ukraine are typical, not exceptional. Acting as an Empire, the US always installs the worst possible scum in power in its vassals, particularly in newly acquired ones. ..."
"... Has he forgotten the historical conversation of Nuland and Payatt picking the next president of Ukraine "Yats is our guy" and "Yats" actually emerging as the president a week later ? None of these facts are in any way remotely compatible with passive role professor Cohen ascribes to the US. ..."
"... We don't know what happens next, but we know the following: Ukraine will not be in EU, or Nato. It will not be a unified, prosperous country. It will continue losing a large part of its population. And oligarchy and 'corruption' is going to stay. ..."
"... Another Maidan would most likely make things even worse and trigger a complete disintegration. Those are the wages of stupidity and desperation – one can see an individual example with AP, but they all seem like that. ..."
Oct 20, 2019 | www.unz.com

Dan Hayes says: October 4, 2019 at 4:46 am GMT • 100 Words @Ron Unz Proprietor Ron,

Thanks for your sharing you views about Prof Cohen, a most interesting and principled man.

Only after reading the article did I realize that the UR (that's you) also provided the Batchelor Show podcast. Thanks.

I've been listening to these broadcasts over their entirety, now going on for six or so years. What's always struck me is Cohen's level-headeness and equanimity. I've also detected affection for Kentucky, his native state. Not something to be expected from a Princeton / NYU academic nor an Upper West Side resident.

And once again expressing appreciation for the UR!


sally , says: October 4, 2019 at 4:47 am GMT

How did the United States become so involved in Ukraine's torturous and famously corrupt politics? The short answer is NATO expansion <= maybe something different? I like pocketbook expansion.. NATO Expansion provides cover and legalizes the private use of Presidential directed USA resources to enable a few to make massively big profits at the expense of the governed in the target area.

Behind NATO lies the reason for Bexit, the Yellow Jackets, the unrest in Iraq and Egypt, Yemen etc.

Hypothesis 1: NATO supporters are more corrupt than Ukraine officials.
Hypothesis 2: NATO expansion is a euphemism for USA/EU/ backed private party plunder to follow invade and destroy regime change activities designed to dispossess local Oligarchs of the wealth in NATO targeted nations? Private use of public force for private gain comes to mind.

I think [private use of public force for private gain] is what Trump meant when Trump said to impeach Trump for investigating the Ukraine matter amounts to Treason.. but it is the exactly the activity type that Hallmarks CIA instigated regime change.

A lot of intelligence agency manipulation and private pocketbook expanding corruption can be hidden behind NATO expansion.. Please prove to me that Biden and the hundreds of other plunders became so deeply involved in Ukraine because of NATO expansion?

Beckow , says: October 4, 2019 at 8:16 am GMT

The key question is what is the gain in separating Ukraine from Russia, adding it to NATO, and turning Russia and Ukraine into enemies. And what are the most likely results, e.g. can it ever work without risking a catastrophic event?

There are the usual empire-building and weapons business reasons, but those should function within a rational framework. As it is right now, the most likely outcome of the Western initiative in Ukraine will be substantially lower living standards than there would be otherwise for most Ukrainians. And an increase in tensions in the region with inevitable impact on the business there. So what exactly is the gain and for whom?

eah , says: October 4, 2019 at 11:55 am GMT
The Washington-led attempt to fast-track Ukraine into NATO in 2013–14 resulted in the Maidan crisis, the overthrow of the country's constitutionally elected president Viktor Yanukovych, and to the still ongoing proxy civil war in Donbass.

Which exemplifies the stupidity and arrogance of the American military/industrial/political Establishment -- none of that had anything to do with US national security (least of all antagonizing Russia) -- how fucking hypocritical is it to presume the Monroe Doctrine, and then try to get the Ukraine into NATO? -- none of it would have been of any benefit whatsoever to the average American.

Roberto Masioni , says: October 4, 2019 at 12:09 pm GMT
According to a recent govt study, only 12% of Americans can read above a 9th grade level. This effectively mean (((whoever))) controls the MSM controls the world. NOTHING will change for the better while the (((enemy))) owns our money supply.
Pamela , says: October 4, 2019 at 3:41 pm GMT
There was NO "annexation" of Crimea by Russia. Crimea WAS annexed, but by Ukraine.
Russia and Crimea re-unified. Crimea has been part of Russia for long than America has existed – since it was taken from the Ottoman Empire over 350 yrs ago. The vast majority of the people identify as Russian, and speak only Russian.

To annex, the verb, means to use armed force to seize sovereign territory and put it under the control of the invading forces government. Pretty much as the early Americans did to Northern Mexico, Hawaii, etc. Russia used no force, the Governors of Crimea applied for re-unification with Russia, Russia advised a referendum, which was held, and with a 96% turnout, 97% voted for re-unification. This was done formally and legally, conforming with all the international mandates.

It is very damaging for anyone to say that Russia "annexed" Crimea, because when people read, quickly moving past the world, they subliminally match the word to their held perception of the concept and move on. Thus they match the word "annex" to their conception of the use of Armed Force against a resistant population, without checking.

All Cohen is doing here is reinforcing the pushed, lying Empire narrative, that Russia invaded and used force, when the exact opposite is true!!

follyofwar , says: October 4, 2019 at 3:56 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer One wonders if Mr. Putin, as he puts his head on the pillow at night, fancies that he should have rolled the Russian tanks into Kiev, right after the 2014 US-financed coup of Ukraine's elected president, which was accomplished while he was pre-occupied with the Sochi Olympics, and been done with it. He had every justification to do so, but perhaps feared Western blowback. Well, the blowback happened anyway, so maybe Putin was too cautious.

The new Trump Admin threw him under the bus when it installed the idiot Nikki Haley as UN Ambassador, whose first words were that Russia must give Crimea back. With its only major warm water port located at Sevastopol, that wasn't about to happen, and the US Deep State knew it.

Given how he has been so unfairly treated by the media, and never given a chance to enact his Russian agenda, anyone who thinks that Trump was 'selected' by the deep state has rocks for brains. The other night, on Rick Sanchez's RT America show, former US diplomat, and frequent guest Jim Jatras said that he would not be too surprised if 20 GOP Senators flipped and voted to convict Trump if the House votes to impeach.

The deep state can't abide four more years of the bombastic, Twitter-obsessed Trump, hence this Special Ops Ukraine false flag, designed to fool a majority of the people. The smooth talking, more warlike Pence is one of them. The night of the long knives is approaching.

AnonFromTN , says: October 4, 2019 at 4:02 pm GMT
The US actions in Ukraine are typical, not exceptional. Acting as an Empire, the US always installs the worst possible scum in power in its vassals, particularly in newly acquired ones.

The "logic" of the Dem party is remarkable. Dems don't even deny that Biden is corrupt, that he blatantly abused the office of Vice-President for personal gain. What's more, he was dumb enough to boast about it publicly. Therefore, let's impeach Trump.

These people don't give a hoot about the interests of the US as a country, or even as an Empire. Their insatiable greed for money and power blinds them to everything. By rights, those who orchestrated totally fake Russiagate and now push for impeachment, when Russiagate flopped miserably, should be hanged on lampposts for high treason. Unfortunately, justice won't be served. So, we have to be satisfied with an almost assured prospect of this impeachment thing to flop, just like Russiagate before it. But in the process incalculable damage will be done to our country and its institutions.

AnonFromTN , says: October 4, 2019 at 4:07 pm GMT
@Pamela In fact, several Western sources reluctantly confirmed the results of Crimean referendum of 2014:
German polling company GFK
http://www.gfk.com/ua/Documents/Presentations/GFK_report_FreeCrimea.pdf
Gallup
http://www.bbg.gov/wp-content/media/2014/06/Ukraine-slide-deck.pdf

Those who support the separation of Kosovo from Serbia without Serbian consent cannot argue against separation of Crimea from Ukraine without the consent of Kiev regime.

On the other hand, those who believe that post-WWII borders are sacrosanct have to acknowledge that Crimea belongs to Russia (illegally even by loose Soviet standards transferred to Ukraine by Khrushchev in 1956), Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Soviet Union should be restored, and Germany should be re-divided.

Alden , says: October 4, 2019 at 5:35 pm GMT
At least now I know why Ukraine is so essential to American national security. It's so even more of my and my families' taxes can pay for a massive expansion of Nato, which means American military bases in Ukraine. Greenland to the borders of China.

We're encircling the earth, like those old cartoons about bankers.

chris , says: October 4, 2019 at 9:11 pm GMT
@Ron Unz I had to stop listening after the 10th min. where the good professor (without any push-back from the interviewer) says:

Victor Yanukovich was overthrown by a street coup . at that moment, the United States and not only the United States but the Western European Governments had to make a decision would they acknowledge the overthrow of Yannukovic as having been legitimate, and therefore accept whatever government emerged, and that was a fateful moment within 24hours, the governments, including the government of president Obama endorsed what was essentially a coup d'etat against Yanukovich.

Has the good Professor so quickly forgotten about Victoria Nuland distributing cookies with John McCain in the Maidan as the coup was still unfolding? Her claim at the think tank in DC where she discusses having spent $30million (if I remember correctly) for foisting the Ukraine coup ?

Has he forgotten the historical conversation of Nuland and Payatt picking the next president of Ukraine "Yats is our guy" and "Yats" actually emerging as the president a week later ? None of these facts are in any way remotely compatible with passive role professor Cohen ascribes to the US.

These are not simple omissions but willful acts of misleading of fools. The good professor's little discussed career as a resource for the secret services has reemerged after seemingly having been left out in the cold during the 1st attempted coup against Trump.

No, the real story is more than just a little NATO expansion as the professor does suggest, but more directly, the attempted coup that the US is still trying to stage in Russia itself, in order to regain control of Russia's vast energy resources which Putin forced the oligarchs to disgorge. The US desperately wants to achieve this in order to be able to ultimately also control China's access to those resources as well.

In the way that Iraq was supposed to be a staging post for an attack on Iran, Ukraine is the staging post for an attack on Russia.

The great Russian expert stirred miles very clear of even hinting at such scenarios, even though anyone who's thought about US world policies will easily arrive at this logical conclusion.

Anonymous [855] • Disclaimer , says: October 4, 2019 at 10:11 pm GMT
What about the theft of Ukraine's farmland and the enserfing of its rural population? Isn't this theft and enserfing of Ukrainians at least one major reason the US government got involved, overseeing the transfer of this land into the hands of the transnational banking crime syndicate? The Ukraine, with its rich, black soil, used to be called the breadbasket of Europe.

Consider the fanatical intervention on the part of Victoria Nuland and the Kagans under the guise of working for the State Dept to facilitate the theft. In a similar fashion, according to Wayne Madsen, the State Dept. has a Dept of Foreign Asset Management, or some similar name, that exists to protect the Chabad stranglehold on the world diamond trade, and, according to Madsen, the language spoken and posters around the offices are in Hebrew, which as a practical matter might as well be the case at the State Dept itself.

According to an article a few years ago at Oakland Institute, George Rohr's NCH Capital, which latter organization has funded over 100 Chabad Houses on US campuses, owns over 1 million acres of Ukraine farmland. Other ownership interests of similarly vast tracts of Ukraine farmland show a similar pattern of predation. At one point, it was suggested that the Yinon Plan should be understood to include the Ukraine as the newly acquired breadbasket of Eretz Israel. It may also be worth pointing out that now kosher Ivy League schools' endowments are among the worst pillagers of native farmland and enserfers of the indigenous populations they claim to protect.

AnonFromTN , says: October 5, 2019 at 3:04 pm GMT
@Mikhail Well, if we really go into it, things become complicated. What Khmelnitsky united with Russia was maybe 1/6th or 1/8th of current Ukraine. Huge (4-5 times greater) areas in the North and West were added by Russian Tsars, almost as great areas in the South and East taken by Tsars from Turkey and affiliated Crimean Khanate were added by Lenin, a big chunk in the West was added by Stalin, and then in 1956 moron Khrushchev "gifted" Crimea (which he had no right to do even by Soviet law). So, about 4/6th of "Ukraine" is Southern Russia, 1/6th is Eastern Poland, some chunks are Hungary and Romania, and the remaining little stub is Ukraine proper.
AnonFromTN , says: October 6, 2019 at 3:27 pm GMT
@anon American view always was: "yes, he is a son of a bitch, but he is our son of a bitch". That historically applied to many obnoxious regimes, now fully applies to Ukraine. In that Dems and Reps always were essentially identical, revealing that they are two different puppets run by the same puppet master.

Trump is hardly very intelligent, but he has some street smarts that degenerate elites have lost. Hence their hatred of him. It is particularly galling for the elites that Trump won in 2016, and has every chance of winning again in 2020 (unless they decide to murder him, like JFK; but that would be a real giveaway, even the dumbest sheeple would smell the rat).

Skeptikal , says: October 6, 2019 at 7:10 pm GMT
@follyofwar The only reason I can imagine that Putin/Russia would want to "take over" Ukraine and have this political problem child back in the family might be because of Ukraine's black soil.

But it is probably not worth the aggravation.

Russia is building up its agricultural sector via major greenhouse installations and other innovations.

Beckow , says: October 6, 2019 at 7:21 pm GMT
@AP Well, you are a true simpleton who repeats shallow conventional views. You don't ever seem to think deeper about what you write, e.g. if Yanukovitch could beat anyone in a 1-on-1 election than he obviously wasn't that unpopular and that makes Maidan illegal by any standard. You say he could beat Tiahnybok, who was one of the leaders of Maidan, how was then Maidan democratic? Or you don't care for democracy if people vote against your preferences?

Trade with Russia is way down and it is not coming back. That is my point – there was definitely a way to do this better. It wasn't a choice of 'one or the other' – actually EU was under the impression that Ukraine would help open up the Russian market. Your either-or wasn't the plan, so did Kiev lie to EU? No wonder Ukraine has a snowball chance in hell of joining EU.

AnonFromTN , says: October 6, 2019 at 8:09 pm GMT
@Skeptikal Russia moved to the first place in the world in wheat exports, while greatly increasing its production of meat, fowl, and fish. Those who supplied these commodities lost Russian market for good. In fact, with sanctions, food in Russia got a lot better, and food in Moscow got immeasurably better: now it's local staff instead of crap shipped from half-a-world away. Funny thing is, Russian production of really good fancy cheeses has soared (partially with the help of French and Italian producers who moved in to avoid any stupid sanctions).

So, there is no reason for Russia to take Ukraine on any conditions, especially considering Ukraine's exorbitant external debt. If one calculates European demand for transplantation kidneys and prostitutes, two of the most successful Ukrainian exports, Ukraine will pay off its debt – never. Besides, the majority of Russians learned to despise Ukraine due to its subservient vassalage to the US (confirmed yet again by the transcript of the conversation between Trump and Ze), so the emotional factor is also virtually gone. Now the EU and the US face the standard rule of retail: you broke it, you own it. That infuriates Americans and EU bureaucrats more than anything.

annamaria , says: October 6, 2019 at 8:10 pm GMT
@Sergey Krieger "Demography statistic won't support fairy tales by solzhenicin and his kind."

-- What's your point? Your post reads like an attempt at saying that Kaganovitch was white like snow and that it does not matter what crimes were committed in the Soviet Union because of the "demography statistic" and because you, Sergey Krieger, are a grander person next to Solzhenitsyn and "his kind." By the way, had not A. I. S. returned to Russia, away from the coziness of western life?

S.K.: "You should start research onto mass dying of population after 1991 and subsequent and ongoing demographic catastroph in Russia under current not as "brutal " as soviet regime."

-- If you wish: "The Rape of Russia: Testimony of Anne Williamson Before the Committee on Banking and Financial Services of the United States House of Representatives, September 21, 1999:" http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Pseudoscience/Harvard_mafia/testimony_of_anne_williamson_before_the_house_banking_committee.shtml

"Economic rape of post-USSR economic space was by design not by accident:"
http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Pseudoscience/harvard_mafia.shtml#Economic_rape_of_post_USSR_economic_space_was_by_design_not_by_accident

"MI6 role in economic rape of Russia, Ukraine, and other post-Soviet republics:" http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Pseudoscience/harvard_mafia.shtml#MI6_role_

AnonFromTN , says: October 6, 2019 at 11:39 pm GMT
@AP Maidan was an illegal coup that violated Ukrainian constitution (I should say all of them, there were too many) and lots of other laws. And that's not the worst part of it. But it already happened, there is no going back for Ukraine. It's a "yes or no" thing, you can't be a little bit pregnant. We can either commiserate with Ukraine or gloat, but it committed suicide. Some say this project was doomed from the start. I think Ukraine had a chance and blew it.
AP , says: October 7, 2019 at 4:39 am GMT
@AnonFromTN

Maidan was an illegal coup that violated Ukrainian constitution (I should say all of them, there were too many) a

Illegal revolution (are there any legal ones? – was American one legal?) rather than coup. Violations of Constitution began under Yanukovich.

We can either commiserate with Ukraine or gloat, but it committed suicide.

LOL. Were you the one comparing it to Somalia?

Here is "dead" Ukraine:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/DDWAobR8U0c?start=3017&feature=oembed

What a nightmare.

Compare Ukraine 2019 to Ukraine 2013 (before revolution):

GDP per capita PPP:

$9233 (2018) vs. $8648 (2013)

https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.PP.CD?locations=UA-AM-GE-MN-AL&name_desc=false

GDP per capita nominal:

$3110 (2018) vs. $3160 (2013)

Given 3% growth in 2019, it will be higher.

Forex reserves:

$20 billion end of 2013, $23 billion currently

Debt to GDP ratio:

40% in 2013, 61% in 2018. Okay, this is worse. But it is a decline from 2016 when it was 81%.

Compare Ukraine's current 61% to Greece's 150%.

Military: from ~15,000 usable troops to 200,000.

Overall, not exactly a "suicide."

Beckow , says: October 7, 2019 at 7:49 am GMT
@AnonFromTN I usually refrain from labelling off-cycle changes in government as revolutions or coups – it clearly depends on one's views and can't be determined.

In general, when violence or military is involved, it is more likely it was a coup. If a country has a reasonably open election process, violently overthrowing the current government would also seem like a coup, since it is unnecessary. Ukraine had both violence and a coming election that was democratic. If Yanukovitch would prevent or manipulate the elections, one could make a case that at that point – after the election – the population could stage a ' revolution '.

AP is a simpleton who repeats badly thought out slogans and desperately tries to save some face for the Maidan fiasco – so we will not change his mind, his mind is done with changes, it is all about avoiding regrets even if it means living in a lie. One can almost feel sorry for him, if he wasn't so obnoxious.

Ukraine has destroyed its own future gradually after 1991, all the elites there failed, Yanukovitch was just the last in a long line of failures, the guy before him (Yushenko?) left office with a 5% approval. Why wasn't there a revolution against him? Maidan put a cherry on that rotting cake – a desperate scream of pain by people who had lost all hope and so blindly fell for cheap promises by the new-old hustlers.

We don't know what happens next, but we know the following: Ukraine will not be in EU, or Nato. It will not be a unified, prosperous country. It will continue losing a large part of its population. And oligarchy and 'corruption' is going to stay.

Another Maidan would most likely make things even worse and trigger a complete disintegration. Those are the wages of stupidity and desperation – one can see an individual example with AP, but they all seem like that.

Beckow , says: October 7, 2019 at 1:31 pm GMT
@AP You intentionally omitted the second part of what I wrote: 'a reasonably democratic elections', neither 18th century American colonies, nor Russia in 1917 or Romania in 1989, had them. Ukraine in 2014 did.

So all your belly-aching is for nothing. The talk about 'subverting' and doing a preventive 'revolution' on Maidan to prevent 'subversion' has a very Stalinist ring to it. If you start revolutionary violence because you claim to anticipate that something bad might happen, well, the sky is the limit and you have no rules.

You are desperately trying to justify a stupid and unworkable act. As we watch the unfolding disaster and millions leaving Ukraine, this "Maidan was great!!!" mantra will sound even more silly. But enjoy it, it is not Somalia, wow, I guess as long as a country is not Somalia it is ok. Ukraine is by far the poorest large country in Europe. How is that a success?

AnonFromTN , says: October 7, 2019 at 3:11 pm GMT
@Beckow True believers are called that because they willfully ignore facts and logic. AP is a true believer Ukie. Ukie faith is their main undoing. Unfortunately, they are ruining the country with their insane dreams. But that cannot be helped now. The position of a large fraction of Ukrainian population is best described by a cruel American saying: fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.
Beckow , says: October 7, 2019 at 4:07 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN You are right, it can't be helped. Another saying is that it takes two to lie: one who lies, and one to lie to. The receiver of lies is also responsible.

What happened in Ukraine was: Nuland&Co. went to Ukraine and lied to them about ' EU, 'Marshall plan', aid, 'you will be Western ', etc,,,'. Maidanistas swallowed it because they wanted to believe – it is easy to lie to desperate people. Making promises is very easy. US soft power is all based on making promises.

What Nuland&Co. really wanted was to create a deep Ukraine-Russia hostility and to grab Crimea, so they could get Russian Navy out and move Nato in. It didn't work very well, all we have is useless hostility, and a dysfunctional state. But as long as they serve espresso in Lviv, AP will scream that it was all worth it, 'no Somalia', it is 'all normal', almost as good as 2013 . Right.

Robjil , says: October 5, 2019 at 5:11 pm GMT
Ukraine is an overseas US territory.

It is not a foreign nation at all.

Trump dealt with one of our overseas territories.

Nuland said that US invested 5 billion dollars to get Ukraine.

She got Ukraine without balls that is Crimea. Russia took back the balls.

US cried, cried a Crimea river about this. They are still crying over this.

DESERT FOX , says: October 5, 2019 at 6:53 pm GMT
@Robjil Agree, and like Israel the Ukraine will be a welfare drain on the America taxpayers as long as Israel and the Ukraine exist.
Beckow , says: October 5, 2019 at 6:54 pm GMT
@AP I don't disagree with what you said, but my point was different:

lower living standards than there would be otherwise for most Ukrainians

Without the unnecessary hostility and the break in business relations with Russia the living standards in Ukraine would be higher. That, I think, noone would dispute. One can trace that directly to the so-far failed attempt to get Ukraine into Nato and Russia out of its Crimea bases. There has been a high cost for that policy, so it is appropriate to ask: why? did the authors of that policy think it through?

Beckow , says: October 5, 2019 at 10:11 pm GMT
@AP I don't give a flying f k about Yanukovitch and your projections about what 'would be growth' under him. He was history by 2014 in any case.

One simple point that you don't seem to grasp: it was Yanuk who negotiated the association treaty with EU that inevitably meant Ukraine in Nato and Russia bases out of Crimea (after a decent interval). For anyone to call Yanuk a 'pro-Russian' is idiotic – what we see today are the results of Yanukovitch's policies. By the way, the first custom restrictions on Ukraine's exports to Russia happened in summer 2013 under Y.

If you still think that Yanukovitch was in spite of all of that somehow a 'Russian puppet', you must have a very low opinion of Kremlin skills in puppetry. He was not, he was fully onboard with the EU-Nato-Crimea policy – he implemented it until he got outflanked by even more radical forces on Maidan.

AnonFromTN , says: October 6, 2019 at 1:42 am GMT
@Beckow Well, exactly like all Ukrainian presidents before and after him, Yanuk was a thief. He might have been a more intelligent and/or more cautious thief that Porky, but a thief he was.

Anyway, there is no point in crying over spilled milk: history has no subjunctive mood. Ukraine has dug a hole for itself, and it still keeps digging, albeit slower, after a clown in whole socks replaced a clown in socks with holes. By now this new clown is also a murderer, as he did not stop shelling Donbass, although so far he has committed fewer crimes than Porky.

There is no turning back. Regardless of Ukrainian policies, many things it used to sell Russia won't be bought any more: Russia developed its own shipbuilding (subcontracted some to South Korea), is making its own helicopter and ship engines, all stages of space rockets, etc. Russia won't return any military or high-tech production to Ukraine, ever. What's more, most Russians are now disgusted with Ukraine, which would impede improving relations even if Ukraine gets a sane government (which is extremely unlikely in the next 5 years).

Ukraine's situation is best described by Russian black humor saying: "what we fought for has befallen us". End of story.

Sergey Krieger , says: October 6, 2019 at 4:15 am GMT
@Peter Akuleyev How many millions? It is same story. Ukraine claims more and more millions dead from so called Hilodomor when in Russia liberals have been screaming about 100 million deaths in russia from bolsheviks. Both are fairy tales. Now you better answer what is current population of ukraine. The last soviet time 1992 level was 52 million. I doubt you got even 40 million now. Under soviet power both ukraine and russia population were steadily growing. Now, under whose music you are dancing along with those in Russia that share your views when die off very real one is going right under your nose.
anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 6, 2019 at 7:03 am GMT
@AnonFromTN

By now this new clown is also a murderer, as he did not stop shelling Donbass, although so far he has committed fewer crimes than Porky.

Have you noticed that the Republicans, while seeming to defend Trump, never challenge the specious assertion that delaying arms to Ukraine was a threat to US security? At first I thought this was oversight. Silly me. Keeping the New Cold War smoldering is more important to those hawks.

Tulsi Gabbard flipping to support the impeachment enquiry was especially disappointing. I'm guessing she was under lots of pressure, because she can't possibly believe that arming the Ukies is good for our security. If I could get to one of her events, I'd ask her direct, what's up with that. Obama didn't give them arms at all, even made some remarks about not inflaming the situation. (A small token, after his people managed the coup, spent 8 years demonizing Putin, and presided over origins of Russiagate to make Trump's [stated] goal of better relations impossible.)

AnonFromTN , says: October 7, 2019 at 5:11 pm GMT
@Per/Norway

The ukrops are pureblooded nazis

Not really. Ukies are wonnabe Nazis, but they fall way short of their ideal. The original German Nazis were organized, capable, brave, sober, and mostly honest. Ukie scum is disorganized, ham-handed, cowardly, drunk (or under drugs), and corrupt to the core. They are heroes only against unarmed civilians, good only for theft, torture, and rape. When it comes to the real fight with armed opponents, they run away under various pretexts or surrender. Nazis should sue these impostors for defamation.

Mikhail , says: • Website October 7, 2019 at 6:28 pm GMT
@AP

So uprising by American colonists was a coup?

How about what happened in Russia in 1917?

Or Romania when Communism fell?

Talk about false equivalencies.

Yanukovych signed an internationally brokered power sharing agreement with his main rivals, who then violated it. Yanukovych up to that point was the democratically elected president of Ukraine.

Since his being violently overthrown, people have been unjustly jailed, beaten and killed for politically motivated reasons having to do with a stated opposition to the Euromaidan.

Yanukovych refrained from using from using considerably greater force, when compared to others if put in the same situation, against a mob element that included property damage and the deaths of law enforcement personnel.

In the technical legal sense, there was a legit basis to jail the likes of Tymoshenko. If I correctly recall Yushchenko offered testimony against Tymoshenko. Rather laughable that Poroshenko appointed the non-lawyer Lutsenko into a key legal position.

Mikhail , says: • Website October 7, 2019 at 6:35 pm GMT
@Beckow The undemocratic aspect involving Yanukovych's overthrow included the disproportionate number of Svoboda members appointed to key cabinet positions. At the time, Svoboda was on record for favoring the dissolution of Crimea's autonomous status
anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 8, 2019 at 2:17 am GMT
@AP Grest comment #159 by Beckow. Really, I'm more concerned with the coup against POTUS that's happening right now, since before he took office. The Ukraine is pivotal, from the Kiev putschists collaborating with the DNC, to the CIA [pretend] whistleblowers who now subvert Trump's investigation of those crimes.

Tragic and pitiful, the Ukrainians jumped from a rock to a hard place. Used and abandoned by the Clinton-Soros gang, they appeal to the next abusive Sugar-Daddy. Isn't this FRANCE 24 report fairly objective?

Revisited: Five years on, what has Ukraine's Maidan Revolution achieved?

https://www.youtube.com/embed/RtUrPKK73rE?feature=oembed

anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 8, 2019 at 2:24 am GMT
@AP This from BBC is less current. (That magnificent bridge -the one the Ukies tried to sabotage- is now in operation, of course.) I'm just trying to use sources that might not trigger you.

Crimea: Three years after annexation – BBC News

anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 8, 2019 at 3:55 am GMT
@AP Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire
Kiev officials are scrambling to make amends with the president-elect after quietly working to boost Clinton.
https://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/ukraine-sabotage-trump-backfire-233446
anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 8, 2019 at 4:57 am GMT
@AP "Whenever people ask me how to figure out the truth about Ukraine, I always recommend they watch the film Ukraine on Fire by director @lopatonok and executive produced by @TheOliverStone. The sequel Revealing Ukraine will be out soon proud to be in it."
– Lee Sranahan (Follow @stranahan for Ukrainegate in depth.)
" .what has really changed in the life of Ukrainians?"

REVEALING UKRAINE OFFICIAL TEASER TRAILER #1 (2019)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=Nj_bdtO0SI0

Robjil , says: October 15, 2019 at 12:16 am GMT
@Malacaay Baltics, Ukrainians and Poles were part of the Polish Kingdom from 1025-1569 and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 1569-1764.

This probably explains their differences with Russia.

Russia had this area in the Russian Empire from 1764-1917. Russia called this area the Pale of Settlement. Why? This Polish Kingdom since 1025 welcomed 25000 Jews in, who later grew to millions by the 19th century. They are the Ashkenazis who are all over the world these days. The name Pale was for Ashkenazis to stay in that area and not immigrate to the rest of Russia.

The reasoning for this was not religious prejudice but the way the Ashkenazis treated the peasants of the Pale. It was to protect the Russian peasants. This did not help after 1917. A huge invasion of Ashkenazis descended all over Russia to take up positions all over the Soviet Union.

Ukraine US is like the Pale again. It has a Jewish President and a Jewish Prime Minister.

Ukraine and Poland were both controlled by Tartars too. Ukraine longer than Russia. Russia ended the Tartar rule of Crimea in 1783. The Crimean Tartars lived off raiding Ukraine, Poland, and parts of Russia for Slav slaves. Russia ended this Slav slave trade in 1783.

[Oct 15, 2019] Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is paying Facebook Inc. to run false advertisements that its Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is endorsing President Donald Trump.

Oct 15, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs , October 13, 2019 at 07:10 AM

(Possibly risky tactic by Liz Warren?)

Elizabeth Warren bought fake ads
on Facebook to highlight Facebook's fake ads
https://www.bostonglobe.com/2019/10/12/elizabeth-warren-bought-fake-ads-facebook-highlight-facebook-fake-ads/Hr5EBe5o2dGW6FoDu8O7kO/story.html?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe

Siraj Datoo - Bloomberg News - October 12

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is paying Facebook Inc. to run false advertisements that its Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is endorsing President Donald Trump.

Warren's campaign sponsored the posts which were blasted into the feeds of U.S. users of the social network, as it pushed back against Facebook's policy to exempt politicians' ads from its third-party fact-checking program.

The ads, which begin with the falsehood, quickly backtracks: "You're probably shocked. And you might be thinking, 'how could this possibly be true?' Well, it's not." ...

"If Senator Warren wants to say things she knows to be untrue, we believe Facebook should not be in the position of censoring that speech," Andy Stone, a spokesman for Facebook, said in a statement to CNN on the ads.

This isn't the first time Warren has used Facebook's own platform to make a political point. In March, Facebook took down ads from her campaign that called for the company to be broken up, but later restored them.

This time, Warren's latest ads strike a more forceful tone, calling on users to hold the Facebook CEO accountable and to back her mission.

"Facebook already helped elect Donald Trump once," the ads read. "Now, they're deliberately allowing a candidate to intentionally lie to the American people."

Joe -> Fred C. Dobbs... , October 13, 2019 at 08:42 AM
Great tactic, and Hilarious at that. I passed it on on my face book account. Great political humor has been a proven vote winner. Anytime you get a chuckle, the residual resentment gets same relief.

[Oct 10, 2019] Trump, Impeachment Forgetting What Brought Him to the White House by Andrew J. Bacevich

Highly recommended!
The term "centrist" is replaced by a more appropriate term "neoliberal oligarchy"
Notable quotes:
"... Furthermore, Donald Trump might well emerge from this national ordeal with his reelection chances enhanced. Such a prospect is belatedly insinuating itself into public discourse. For that reason, certain anti-Trump pundits are already showing signs of going wobbly, suggesting , for instance, that censure rather than outright impeachment might suffice as punishment for the president's various offenses. Yet censuring Trump while allowing him to stay in office would be the equivalent of letting Harvey Weinstein off with a good tongue-lashing so that he can get back to making movies. Censure is for wimps. ..."
"... So if Trump finds himself backed into a corner, Democrats aren't necessarily in a more favorable position. And that aren't the half of it. Let me suggest that, while Trump is being pursued, it's you, my fellow Americans, who are really being played. The unspoken purpose of impeachment is not removal, but restoration. The overarching aim is not to replace Trump with Mike Pence -- the equivalent of exchanging Groucho for Harpo. No, the object of the exercise is to return power to those who created the conditions that enabled Trump to win the White House in the first place. ..."
"... For many of the main participants in this melodrama, the actual but unstated purpose of impeachment is to correct this great wrong and thereby restore history to its anointed path. ..."
"... In a recent column in The Guardian, Professor Samuel Moyn makes the essential point: Removing from office a vulgar, dishonest and utterly incompetent president comes nowhere close to capturing what's going on here. To the elites most intent on ousting Trump, far more important than anything he may say or do is what he signifies. He is a walking, talking repudiation of everything they believe and, by extension, of a future they had come to see as foreordained. ..."
"... Moyn styles these anti-Trump elites as "neoliberal oligarchy", members of the post-Cold War political mainstream that allowed ample room for nominally conservative Bushes and nominally liberal Clintons, while leaving just enough space for Barack Obama's promise of hope-and-(not-too-much) change. ..."
"... These "neoliberal oligarchy" share a common worldview. They believe in the universality of freedom as defined and practiced within the United States. They believe in corporate capitalism operating on a planetary scale. They believe in American primacy, with the United States presiding over a global order as the sole superpower. They believe in "American global leadership," which they define as primarily a military enterprise. And perhaps most of all, while collecting degrees from Georgetown, Harvard, Oxford, Wellesley, the University of Chicago, and Yale, they came to believe in a so-called meritocracy as the preferred mechanism for allocating wealth, power and privilege. All of these together comprise the sacred scripture of contemporary American political elites. And if Donald Trump's antagonists have their way, his removal will restore that sacred scripture to its proper place as the basis of policy. ..."
"... "For all their appeals to enduring moral values," Moyn writes, "the "neoliberal oligarchy" are deploying a transparent strategy to return to power." Destruction of the Trump presidency is a necessary precondition for achieving that goal. ""neoliberal oligarchy" simply want to return to the status quo interrupted by Trump, their reputations laundered by their courageous opposition to his mercurial reign, and their policies restored to credibility." Precisely. ..."
"... how does such misconduct compare to the calamities engineered by the "neoliberal oligarchy" who preceded him? ..."
"... Trump's critics speak with one voice in demanding accountability. Yet virtually no one has been held accountable for the pain, suffering, and loss inflicted by the architects of the Iraq War and the Great Recession. Why is that? As another presidential election approaches, the question not only goes unanswered, but unasked. ..."
"... To win reelection, Trump, a corrupt con man (who jumped ship on his own bankrupt casinos, money in hand, leaving others holding the bag) will cheat and lie. Yet, in the politics of the last half-century, these do not qualify as novelties. (Indeed, apart from being the son of a sitting U.S. vice president, what made Hunter Biden worth $50Gs per month to a gas company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch? I'm curious.) That the president and his associates are engaging in a cover-up is doubtless the case. Yet another cover-up proceeds in broad daylight on a vastly larger scale. "Trump's shambolic presidency somehow seems less unsavory," Moyn writes, when considering the fact that his critics refuse "to admit how massively his election signified the failure of their policies, from endless war to economic inequality." Just so. ..."
"... Exactly. Trump is the result of voter disgust with Bush III vs Clinton II, the presumed match up for a year or more leading up to 2016. Now Democrats want to do it again, thinking they can elect anybody against Trump. That's what Hillary thought too. ..."
"... Trump won for lack of alternatives. Our political class is determined to prevent any alternatives breaking through this time either. They don't want Trump, but even more they want to protect their gravy train of donor money, the huge overspending on medical care (four times the defense budget) and of course all those Forever Wars. ..."
"... Trump could win, for the same reasons as last time, even though the result would be no better than last time. ..."
"... I wish the slick I.D. politics obsessed corporate Dems nothing but the worst, absolute worst. They reap what they sow. If it means another four years of Trump, so be it. It's the price that's going to have to be paid. ..."
"... At a time when a majority of U.S. citizens cannot muster up $500 for an emergency dental bill or car repair without running down to the local "pay day loan" lender shark (now established as legitimate businesses) the corporate Dems, in their infinite wisdom, decide to concoct an impeachment circus to run simultaneously when all the dirt against the execrable Brennan and his intel minions starts to hit the press for their Russiagate hoax. Nice sleight of hand there corporate Dems. ..."
Oct 10, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

There is blood in the water and frenzied sharks are closing in for the kill. Or so they think.

From the time of Donald Trump's election, American elites have hungered for this moment. At long last, they have the 45th president of the United States cornered. In typically ham-handed fashion, Trump has given his adversaries the very means to destroy him politically. They will not waste the opportunity. Impeachment now -- finally, some will say -- qualifies as a virtual certainty.

No doubt many surprises lie ahead. Yet the Democrats controlling the House of Representatives have passed the point of no return. The time for prudential judgments -- the Republican-controlled Senate will never convict, so why bother? -- is gone for good. To back down now would expose the president's pursuers as spineless cowards. The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and MSNBC would not soon forgive such craven behavior.

So, as President Woodrow Wilson, speaking in 1919 put it, "The stage is set, the destiny disclosed. It has come about by no plan of our conceiving, but by the hand of God." Of course, the issue back then was a notably weighty one: whether to ratify the Versailles Treaty. That it now concerns a " Mafia-like shakedown " orchestrated by one of Wilson's successors tells us something about the trajectory of American politics over the course of the last century and it has not been a story of ascent.

The effort to boot the president from office is certain to yield a memorable spectacle. The rancor and contempt that have clogged American politics like a backed-up sewer since the day of Trump's election will now find release. Watergate will pale by comparison. The uproar triggered by Bill Clinton's " sexual relations " will be nothing by comparison. A de facto collaboration between Trump, those who despise him, and those who despise his critics all but guarantees that this story will dominate the news, undoubtedly for months to come.

As this process unspools, what politicians like to call "the people's business" will go essentially unattended. So while Congress considers whether or not to remove Trump from office, gun-control legislation will languish, the deterioration of the nation's infrastructure will proceed apace, needed healthcare reforms will be tabled, the military-industrial complex will waste yet more billions, and the national debt, already at $22 trillion -- larger, that is, than the entire economy -- will continue to surge. The looming threat posed by climate change, much talked about of late, will proceed all but unchecked. For those of us preoccupied with America's role in the world, the obsolete assumptions and habits undergirding what's still called " national security " will continue to evade examination. Our endless wars will remain endless and pointless.

By way of compensation, we might wonder what benefits impeachment is likely to yield. Answering that question requires examining four scenarios that describe the range of possibilities awaiting the nation.

The first and most to be desired (but least likely) is that Trump will tire of being a public piñata and just quit. With the thrill of flying in Air Force One having worn off, being president can't be as much fun these days. Why put up with further grief? How much more entertaining for Trump to retire to the political sidelines where he can tweet up a storm and indulge his penchant for name-calling. And think of the "deals" an ex-president could make in countries like Israel, North Korea, Poland, and Saudi Arabia on which he's bestowed favors. Cha-ching! As of yet, however, the president shows no signs of taking the easy (and lucrative) way out.

The second possible outcome sounds almost as good but is no less implausible: a sufficient number of Republican senators rediscover their moral compass and "do the right thing," joining with Democrats to create the two-thirds majority needed to convict Trump and send him packing. In the Washington of that classic 20th-century film director Frank Capra, with Jimmy Stewart holding forth on the Senate floor and a moist-eyed Jean Arthur cheering him on from the gallery, this might have happened. In the real Washington of "Moscow Mitch" McConnell , think again.

The third somewhat seamier outcome might seem a tad more likely. It postulates that McConnell and various GOP senators facing reelection in 2020 or 2022 will calculate that turning on Trump just might offer the best way of saving their own skins. The president's loyalty to just about anyone, wives included, has always been highly contingent, the people streaming out of his administration routinely making the point. So why should senatorial loyalty to the president be any different? At the moment, however, indications that Trump loyalists out in the hinterlands will reward such turncoats are just about nonexistent. Unless that base were to flip, don't expect Republican senators to do anything but flop.

That leaves outcome No. 4, easily the most probable: while the House will impeach, the Senate will decline to convict. Trump will therefore stay right where he is, with the matter of his fitness for office effectively deferred to the November 2020 elections. Except as a source of sadomasochistic diversion, the entire agonizing experience will, therefore, prove to be a colossal waste of time and blather.

Furthermore, Donald Trump might well emerge from this national ordeal with his reelection chances enhanced. Such a prospect is belatedly insinuating itself into public discourse. For that reason, certain anti-Trump pundits are already showing signs of going wobbly, suggesting , for instance, that censure rather than outright impeachment might suffice as punishment for the president's various offenses. Yet censuring Trump while allowing him to stay in office would be the equivalent of letting Harvey Weinstein off with a good tongue-lashing so that he can get back to making movies. Censure is for wimps.

Besides, as Trump campaigns for a second term, he would almost surely wear censure like a badge of honor. Keep in mind that Congress's approval ratings are considerably worse than his. To more than a few members of the public, a black mark awarded by Congress might look like a gold star.

Restoration Not Removal

So if Trump finds himself backed into a corner, Democrats aren't necessarily in a more favorable position. And that aren't the half of it. Let me suggest that, while Trump is being pursued, it's you, my fellow Americans, who are really being played. The unspoken purpose of impeachment is not removal, but restoration. The overarching aim is not to replace Trump with Mike Pence -- the equivalent of exchanging Groucho for Harpo. No, the object of the exercise is to return power to those who created the conditions that enabled Trump to win the White House in the first place.

Just recently, for instance, Hillary Clinton declared Trump to be an "illegitimate president." Implicit in her charge is the conviction -- no doubt sincere -- that people like Donald Trump are not supposed to be president. People like Hillary Clinton -- people possessing credentials like hers and sharing her values -- should be the chosen ones. Here we glimpse the true meaning of legitimacy in this context. Whatever the vote in the Electoral College, Trump doesn't deserve to be president and never did.

For many of the main participants in this melodrama, the actual but unstated purpose of impeachment is to correct this great wrong and thereby restore history to its anointed path.

In a recent column in The Guardian, Professor Samuel Moyn makes the essential point: Removing from office a vulgar, dishonest and utterly incompetent president comes nowhere close to capturing what's going on here. To the elites most intent on ousting Trump, far more important than anything he may say or do is what he signifies. He is a walking, talking repudiation of everything they believe and, by extension, of a future they had come to see as foreordained.

Moyn styles these anti-Trump elites as "neoliberal oligarchy", members of the post-Cold War political mainstream that allowed ample room for nominally conservative Bushes and nominally liberal Clintons, while leaving just enough space for Barack Obama's promise of hope-and-(not-too-much) change.

These "neoliberal oligarchy" share a common worldview. They believe in the universality of freedom as defined and practiced within the United States. They believe in corporate capitalism operating on a planetary scale. They believe in American primacy, with the United States presiding over a global order as the sole superpower. They believe in "American global leadership," which they define as primarily a military enterprise. And perhaps most of all, while collecting degrees from Georgetown, Harvard, Oxford, Wellesley, the University of Chicago, and Yale, they came to believe in a so-called meritocracy as the preferred mechanism for allocating wealth, power and privilege. All of these together comprise the sacred scripture of contemporary American political elites. And if Donald Trump's antagonists have their way, his removal will restore that sacred scripture to its proper place as the basis of policy.

"For all their appeals to enduring moral values," Moyn writes, "the "neoliberal oligarchy" are deploying a transparent strategy to return to power." Destruction of the Trump presidency is a necessary precondition for achieving that goal. ""neoliberal oligarchy" simply want to return to the status quo interrupted by Trump, their reputations laundered by their courageous opposition to his mercurial reign, and their policies restored to credibility." Precisely.

High Crimes and Misdemeanors

The U.S. military's "shock and awe" bombing of Baghdad at the start of the Iraq War, as broadcast on CNN.

For such a scheme to succeed, however, laundering reputations alone will not suffice. Equally important will be to bury any recollection of the catastrophes that paved the way for an über -qualified centrist to lose to an indisputably unqualified and unprincipled political novice in 2016.

Holding promised security assistance hostage unless a foreign leader agrees to do you political favors is obviously and indisputably wrong. Trump's antics regarding Ukraine may even meet some definition of criminal. Still, how does such misconduct compare to the calamities engineered by the "neoliberal oligarchy" who preceded him? Consider, in particular, the George W. Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq in 2003 (along with the spin-off wars that followed). Consider, too, the reckless economic policies that produced the Great Recession of 2007-2008. As measured by the harm inflicted on the American people (and others), the offenses for which Trump is being impeached qualify as mere misdemeanors.

Honest people may differ on whether to attribute the Iraq War to outright lies or monumental hubris. When it comes to tallying up the consequences, however, the intentions of those who sold the war don't particularly matter. The results include thousands of Americans killed; tens of thousands wounded, many grievously, or left to struggle with the effects of PTSD; hundreds of thousands of non-Americans killed or injured ; millions displaced ; trillions of dollars expended; radical groups like ISIS empowered (and in its case even formed inside a U.S. prison in Iraq); and the Persian Gulf region plunged into turmoil from which it has yet to recover. How do Trump's crimes stack up against these?

The Great Recession stemmed directly from economic policies implemented during the administration of President Bill Clinton and continued by his successor. Deregulating the banking sector was projected to produce a bonanza in which all would share. Yet, as a direct result of the ensuing chicanery, nearly 9 million Americans lost their jobs, while overall unemployment shot up to 10 percent. Roughly 4 million Americans lost their homes to foreclosure. The stock market cratered and millions saw their life savings evaporate. Again, the question must be asked: How do these results compare to Trump's dubious dealings with Ukraine?

Trump's critics speak with one voice in demanding accountability. Yet virtually no one has been held accountable for the pain, suffering, and loss inflicted by the architects of the Iraq War and the Great Recession. Why is that? As another presidential election approaches, the question not only goes unanswered, but unasked.

Sen. Carter Glass (D–Va.) and Rep. Henry B. Steagall (D–Ala.-3), the co-sponsors of the 1932 Glass–Steagall Act separating investment and commercial banking, which was repealed in 1999. (Wikimedia Commons)

To win reelection, Trump, a corrupt con man (who jumped ship on his own bankrupt casinos, money in hand, leaving others holding the bag) will cheat and lie. Yet, in the politics of the last half-century, these do not qualify as novelties. (Indeed, apart from being the son of a sitting U.S. vice president, what made Hunter Biden worth $50Gs per month to a gas company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch? I'm curious.) That the president and his associates are engaging in a cover-up is doubtless the case. Yet another cover-up proceeds in broad daylight on a vastly larger scale. "Trump's shambolic presidency somehow seems less unsavory," Moyn writes, when considering the fact that his critics refuse "to admit how massively his election signified the failure of their policies, from endless war to economic inequality." Just so.

What are the real crimes? Who are the real criminals? No matter what happens in the coming months, don't expect the Trump impeachment proceedings to come within a country mile of addressing such questions.

Andrew Bacevich, a TomDispatch regular , is president and co-founder of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft . His new book, " The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory ," will be published in January.

This article is from TomDispatch.com .


Mark Thomason , October 9, 2019 at 17:03

Exactly. Trump is the result of voter disgust with Bush III vs Clinton II, the presumed match up for a year or more leading up to 2016. Now Democrats want to do it again, thinking they can elect anybody against Trump. That's what Hillary thought too.

Now the Republicans who lost their party to Trump think they can take it back with somebody even more lame than Jeb, if only they could find someone, anyone, to run on that non-plan.

Trump won for lack of alternatives. Our political class is determined to prevent any alternatives breaking through this time either. They don't want Trump, but even more they want to protect their gravy train of donor money, the huge overspending on medical care (four times the defense budget) and of course all those Forever Wars.

Trump could win, for the same reasons as last time, even though the result would be no better than last time.

LJ , October 9, 2019 at 17:01

Well, yeah but I recall that what won Trump the Republican Nomination was first and foremost his stance on Immigration. This issue is what separated him from the herd of candidates . None of them had the courage or the desire to go against Governmental Groupthink on Immigration. All he then had to do was get on top of low energy Jeb Bush and the road was clear. He got the base on his side on this issue and on his repeated statement that he wished to normalize relations with Russia . He won the nomination easily. The base is still on his side on these issues but Governmental Groupthink has prevailed in the House, the Senate, the Intelligence Services and the Federal Courts. Funny how nobody in the Beltway, especially not in media, is brave enough to admit that the entire Neoconservative scheme has been a disaster and that of course we should get out of Syria . Nor can anyone recall the corruption and warmongering that now seem that seems endemic to the Democratic Party. Of course Trump has to wear goat's horns. "Off with his head".

Drew Hunkins , October 9, 2019 at 16:00

I wish the slick I.D. politics obsessed corporate Dems nothing but the worst, absolute worst. They reap what they sow. If it means another four years of Trump, so be it. It's the price that's going to have to be paid.

At a time when a majority of U.S. citizens cannot muster up $500 for an emergency dental bill or car repair without running down to the local "pay day loan" lender shark (now established as legitimate businesses) the corporate Dems, in their infinite wisdom, decide to concoct an impeachment circus to run simultaneously when all the dirt against the execrable Brennan and his intel minions starts to hit the press for their Russiagate hoax. Nice sleight of hand there corporate Dems.

Of course, the corporate Dems would rather lose to Trump than win with a progressive-populist like Bernie. After all, a Bernie win would mean an end to a lot of careerism and cushy positions within the establishment political scene in Washington and throughout the country.

Now we even have the destroyer of Libya mulling another run for the presidency.

Forget about having a job the next day and forget about the 25% interest on your credit card or that half your income is going toward your rent or mortgage, or that you barely see your kids b/c of the 60 hour work week, just worry about women lawyers being able to make partner at the firm, and trans people being able to use whatever bathroom they wish and male athletes being able to compete against women based on genitalia (no, wait, I'm confused now).

Either class politics and class warfare comes front and center or we witness a burgeoning neo-fascist movement in our midst. It's that simple, something has got to give!

[Oct 09, 2019] Ukrainegate as the textbook example of how the neoliberal elite manipulates the MSM and the narrative for purposes of misdirecting attention and perception of their true intentions and objectives -- distracting the electorate from real issues

Highly recommended!
Oct 09, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

EMichael , October 09, 2019 at 02:07 PM

His entire life trump has been a deadbeat.

"The president is dropping by the city on Thursday for one of his periodic angry wank-fests at the Target Center, which is the venue in which this event will be inflicted upon the Twin Cities. (And, just as an aside, given the events of the past 10 days, this one should be a doozy.) Other Minneapolis folk are planning an extensive unwelcoming party outside the arena, which necessarily would require increased security, which is expensive. So, realizing that it was dealing with a notorious deadbeat -- in keeping with his customary business plan, El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago has stiffed 10 cities this year for bills relating to security costs that total almost a million bucks -- the company that provides the security for the Target Center wants the president*'s campaign to shell out more than $500,000.

This has sent the president* into a Twitter tantrum against Frey, who seems not to be that impressed by it. Right from when the visit was announced, Frey has been jabbing at the president*'s ego. From the Star-Tribune:

"Our entire city will stand not behind the President, but behind the communities and people who continue to make our city -- and this country -- great," Frey said. "While there is no legal mechanism to prevent the president from visiting, his message of hatred will never be welcome in Minneapolis."

It is a mayor's lot to deal with out-of-state troublemakers. Always has been."

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a29416840/trump-feud-minneapolis-mayor-security-rally/

ilsm , October 09, 2019 at 03:03 PM
When it comes to Trump not going full Cheney war monged in Syria Krugman is a Bircher!l
likbez , October 09, 2019 at 03:22 PM
This is not about Trump. This is not even about Ukraine and/or foreign powers influence on the US election (of which Israel, UK, and Saudi are three primary examples; in this particular order.)

Russiagate 2.0 (aka Ukrainegate) is the case, textbook example if you wish, of how the neoliberal elite manipulates the MSM and the narrative for purposes of misdirecting attention and perception of their true intentions and objectives -- distracting the electorate from real issues.

An excellent observation by JohnH (October 01, 2019 at 01:47 PM )

"It all depends on which side of the Infowars you find yourself. The facts themselves are too obscure and byzantine."

There are two competing narratives here:

1. NARRATIVE 1: CIA swamp scum tried to re-launch Russiagate as Russiagate 2.0. This is CIA coup d'état aided and abetted by CIA-democrats like Pelosi and Schiff. Treason, as Trump aptly said. This is narrative shared by "anti-Deep Staters" who sometimes are nicknamed "Trumptards". Please note that the latter derogatory nickname is factually incorrect: supporters of this narrative often do not support Trump. They just oppose machinations of the Deep State. And/or neoliberalism personified by Clinton camp, with its rampant corruption.

2. NARRATIVE 2: Trump tried to derail his opponent using his influence of foreign state President (via military aid) as leverage and should be impeached for this and previous crimes. ("Full of Schiff" commenters narrative, neoliberal democrats, or demorats.) Supporters of this category usually bought Russiagate 1.0 narrative line, hook and sinker. Some of them are brainwashed, but mostly simply ignorant neoliberal lemmings without even basic political education.

In any case, while Russiagate 2.0 is probably another World Wrestling Federation style fight, I think "anti-Deep-staters" are much closer to the truth.

What is missing here is the real problem: the crisis of neoliberalism in the USA (and elsewhere).

So this circus serves an important purpose (intentionally or unintentionally) -- to disrupt voters from the problems that are really burning, and are equal to a slow-progressing cancer in the US society.

And implicitly derail Warren (being a weak politician she does not understand that, and jumped into Ukrainegate bandwagon )

I am not that competent here, so I will just mention some obvious symptoms:

  1. Loss of legitimacy of the ruling neoliberal elite (which demonstrated itself in 2016 with election of Trump);
  2. Desperation of many working Americans with sliding standard of living; loss of meaningful jobs due to offshoring of manufacturing and automation (which demonstrated itself in opioids abuse epidemics; similar to epidemics of alcoholism in the USSR before its dissolution.
  3. Loss of previously available freedoms. Loss of "free press" replaced by the neoliberal echo chamber in major MSM. The uncontrolled and brutal rule of financial oligarchy and allied with the intelligence agencies as the third rail of US politics (plus the conversion of the state after 9/11 into national security state);
  4. Coming within this century end of the "Petroleum Age" and the global crisis that it can entail;
  5. Rampant militarism, tremendous waist of resources on the arms race, and overstretched efforts to maintain and expand global, controlled from Washington, neoliberal empire. Efforts that since 1991 were a primary focus of unhinged after 1991 neocon faction US elite who totally controls foreign policy establishment ("full-spectrum dominance). They are stealing money from working people to fund an imperial project, and as part of neoliberal redistribution of wealth up

Most of the commenters here live a comfortable life in the financially secured retirement, and, as such, are mostly satisfied with the status quo. And almost completely isolated from the level of financial insecurity of most common Americans (healthcare racket might be the only exception).

And re-posting of articles which confirm your own worldview (echo chamber posting) is nice entertainment, I think ;-)

Some of those posters actually sometimes manage to find really valuable info. For which I am thankful. In other cases, when we have a deluge of abhorrent neoliberal propaganda postings (the specialty of Fred C. Dobbs) which often generate really insightful comments from the members of the "anti-Deep State" camp.

Still it would be beneficial if the flow of neoliberal spam is slightly curtailed.

[Oct 07, 2019] Polarization and Corruption in Congress

Oct 07, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

ilsm , October 06, 2019 at 06:55 AM

Polarization!

Every demorat in the house and senate is a supporter of executive branch corruption when a democrat is in office.

When a Republican goes after DemoRats corruption they and the fake media throw a tirade that Goebbels would approve, and cry foul!

Getting to the bottom of democrat corruption should be easier !

[Oct 05, 2019] Elisabeth Warren: Is Time for the United States to Stand Up to China in Hong Kong

Notable quotes:
"... The intemperate comments of an imperial-minded candidate for the presidency ..."
"... The democrat coup/impeach/coup machine suffers is bi-polar disorder. Every they way fill the military industry complex trough! In their war manic state they supress freedom fighters, and arm their jailers, in their war depress state they support rioters in Hong Kong. If Donbass rebels were in Macao they would get US support, in Dobass the US will suppress freedom. ..."
"... With Ukraine, because the democrat neocons want to surround Russia, US national security arms Ukriane to forcibly put down Donbass as they attempt some form of "self determination". ..."
"... In the case of Hong Kong because US is enemy to the PRC (Red China at Menzie Chinn blog) the US is all for self determination, like Hitler was for pulling Sudetenland out of Czechoslovakia in 1938! ..."
"... This bipolar morality fits with deep state surveillance on Trump in 2016 and in 2019 claiming Trump doing it to Biden so that Trump/DoJ cannot fight corrupt (all) democrats ever! ..."
Oct 05, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Is Time for the United States to Stand Up to China in Hong Kong
Tweets aren't enough. Washington must make clear that it expects Beijing to live up to its commitments -- and it will respond when China does not.
By ELIZABETH WARREN


anne -> anne... , October 04, 2019 at 09:28 AM

https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/10/03/it-is-time-for-the-united-states-to-stand-up-to-china-in-hong-kong/

October 3, 2019

It Is Time for the United States to Stand Up to China in Hong Kong
Tweets aren't enough. Washington must make clear that it expects Beijing to live up to its commitments -- and it will respond when China does not.
By ELIZABETH WARREN

[ Shocking and appalling; unethical and immoral; discrediting. The intemperate comments of an imperial-minded candidate for the presidency. ]

EMichael -> anne... , October 04, 2019 at 09:40 AM
You need to find out what "imperial-minded" means, and address your opposition to Warren's thoughts with reality.
ilsm -> EMichael... , October 04, 2019 at 01:41 PM
The democrat coup/impeach/coup machine suffers is bi-polar disorder. Every they way fill the military industry complex trough! In their war manic state they supress freedom fighters, and arm their jailers, in their war depress state they support rioters in Hong Kong. If Donbass rebels were in Macao they would get US support, in Dobass the US will suppress freedom.

With Ukraine, because the democrat neocons want to surround Russia, US national security arms Ukriane to forcibly put down Donbass as they attempt some form of "self determination".

In the case of Hong Kong because US is enemy to the PRC (Red China at Menzie Chinn blog) the US is all for self determination, like Hitler was for pulling Sudetenland out of Czechoslovakia in 1938!

This bipolar morality fits with deep state surveillance on Trump in 2016 and in 2019 claiming Trump doing it to Biden so that Trump/DoJ cannot fight corrupt (all) democrats ever!

[Oct 05, 2019] Everything is fake in the current neoliberal discourse, be it political or economic, and it is not that easy to understand how they are deceiving us. Lies that are so sophisticated that often it is impossible to tell they are actually lies, not facts

Highly recommended!
Oct 05, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

likbez -> anne... , October 05, 2019 at 04:40 PM

Anne,

Let me serve as a devil advocate here.

Japan has a shrinking population. Can you explain to me why on the Earth they need economic growth?

This preoccupation with "growth" (with narrow and false one dimensional and very questionable measurements via GDP, which includes the FIRE sector) is a fallacy promoted by neoliberalism.

Neoliberalism proved to be quite sophisticated religions with its own set of True Believers in Eric Hoffer's terminology.

A lot of current economic statistics suffer from "mathiness".

For example, the narrow definition of unemployment used in U3 is just a classic example of pseudoscience in full bloom. It can be mentioned only if U6 mentioned first. Otherwise, this is another "opium for the people" ;-) An attempt to hide the real situation in the neoliberal "job market" in which has sustained real unemployment rate is always over 10% and which has a disappearing pool of well-paying middle-class jobs. Which produced current narco-epidemics (in 2018, 1400 people were shot in half a year in Chicago ( http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/breaking/ct-met-weekend-shooting-violence-20180709-story.html ); imagine that). While I doubt that people will hang Pelosi on the street post, her successor might not be so lucky ;-)

Everything is fake in the current neoliberal discourse, be it political or economic, and it is not that easy to understand how they are deceiving us. Lies that are so sophisticated that often it is impossible to tell they are actually lies, not facts. The whole neoliberal society is just big an Empire of Illusions, the kingdom of lies and distortions.

I would call it a new type of theocratic state if you wish.

And probably only one in ten, if not one in a hundred economists deserve to be called scientists. Most are charlatans pushing fake papers on useless conferences.

It is simply amazing that the neoliberal society, which is based on "universal deception," can exist for so long.

[Oct 03, 2019] Warren vs Biden vs Trump

Oct 03, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

JohnH -> kurt... , October 02, 2019 at 06:00 PM

More unfounded assertions from kurt.

1) We don't know for certain what Shokin was investigating and what he wasn't.

2) Ukraine was rife with corruption. But most likely Biden was more concerned with uprooting pro-Russian elements calling them corrupt as shorthand. Pro-Western corruption was most likely overlooked.

3) We don't know why Hunter Biden was appointed to the Burisma board along with one of Joe Biden's big bundlers and the CIA-friendly former President of Poland. We do know that Hunter was put on the board immediately after the color revolution in Ukraine and that he served a stint on the National Democratic Institute, which promotes regime change. Much more needs to be learned about what the Bidens were up to in Ukraine and whether they were carpet baggers cashing out.

As I have said, I would be delighted if Trump went down and took Joe Biden with him. The last thing this country needs is a Joe Lieberman with a smiling face serving as President which is basically what Joe Biden is.

likbez -> JohnH... , October 02, 2019 at 08:51 PM
"As I have said, I would be delighted if Trump went down and took Joe Biden with him."

Biden was already destroyed by Ukrainegate, being Pelosi sacrificial pawn (and for such semi-senile candidate exit now looks the most logical; he can hand around for longer but the question is why? ), but it is unclear how this will affect Trump.

In any case each accusation of Trump boomerang into Biden. And Biden China story probably even more interesting then his Ukrainian gate story.

CIA ears over all Ukraine-gate are so visible that it hurts Pelosi case. Schiff is a sad clown in this circus, and he has zero credibility after his well publicized love story with Russiagate.

The fact that Warren is now favorite increases previously reluctant Wall Street support for Trump, who is becoming kind of new Hillary, the establishment candidate.

And if you able to think, trump now looks like establishment candidate, corrupt interventionist, who is not that far from Hillary in foreign policy and clearly as a "hard neoliberal" aligns with Hillary "soft neoliberal" stance in domestic policy.

As Warren can pretend that she is better Trump then Trump (and we are talking about Trump-2016 platform; Trump action were betrayal of his electorate much like was the case with Obama) she has chances, but let's do not overestimate them.

Pelosi help with Trump re-election can't be underestimated.

[Sep 30, 2019] Some longtime Democratic donors are reportedly considering throwing their backing behind Donald Trump

If Krugman is surprised that some Democratic donors will support Trump over Warren, he is not an analyst.
And Obama was a Wall Street prostitute, much like bill Clinton, no questions about it. Trump betrayal of his voters actually mirror the Obama betrayal. May suspect that Warren will be malleable with will fold to Wall Street on the first opportunity, governing like Trump-lite.
Sep 30, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , September 30, 2019 at 03:53 PM

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/opinion/elizabeth-warren-wealth-tax.html

September 30, 2019

Warren Versus the Petty Plutocrats. Why do they hate her? It's mainly about their egos.
By Paul Krugman

Remember when pundits used to argue that Elizabeth Warren wasn't likable enough to be president? It was always a lazy take, with a strong element of sexism. And it looks ridiculous now, watching Warren on the campaign trail. Never mind whether she's someone you'd like to have a beer with, she's definitely someone thousands of people want to take selfies with.

But there are some people who really, really dislike Warren: the ultrawealthy, especially on Wall Street. They dislike her so much that some longtime Democratic donors are reportedly considering throwing their backing behind Donald Trump, corruption, collusion and all, if Warren is the Democratic presidential nominee.

And Warren's success is a serious possibility, because Warren's steady rise has made her a real contender, maybe even the front-runner: While she still trails Joe Biden a bit in the polls, betting markets currently give her a roughly 50 percent chance of securing the nomination.

But why does Warren inspire a level of hatred and fear among the very wealthy that I don't think we've seen directed at a presidential candidate since the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt?

On the surface, the answer may seem obvious. She is proposing policies, notably a tax on fortunes exceeding $50 million, that would make the extremely wealthy a bit less so. But delve into the question a bit more deeply, and Warren hatred becomes considerably more puzzling.

For the only people who would be directly affected by her tax proposals are those who more or less literally have more money than they know what to do with. Having a million or two less wouldn't crimp their lifestyles; most of them would barely notice the change.

At the same time, even the very wealthy should be very afraid of the prospect of a Trump re-election. Any doubts you might have had about his authoritarian instincts should have been put to rest by his reaction to the possibility of impeachment: implicit death threats against whistle-blowers, warnings of civil war and claims that members of Congress investigating him are guilty of treason.

And anyone imagining that great wealth would make them safe from an autocrat's wrath should look at the list of Russian oligarchs who crossed Vladimir Putin -- and are now ruined or dead. So what would make the very wealthy -- even some Jewish billionaires, who should have a very good idea of the likely consequences of right-wing dominance -- support Trump over someone like Warren?

There is, I'd argue, an important clue in the "Obama rage" that swept Wall Street circa 2010. Objectively, the Obama administration was very good to the financial industry, even though that industry had just led us into the worst economic crisis since the 1930s. Major financial players were bailed out on lenient terms, and while bankers were subjected to a long-overdue increase in regulation, the new regulations have proved fairly easy for reputable firms to deal with.

Yet financial tycoons were furious with President Barack Obama because they felt disrespected. In truth, Obama's rhetoric was very mild; all he ever did was suggest that some bankers had behaved badly, which no reasonable person could deny. But with great wealth comes great pettiness; Obama's gentle rebukes provoked fury -- and a huge swing in financial industry political contributions toward Republicans.

The point is that many of the superrich aren't satisfied with living like kings, which they will continue to do no matter who wins next year's election. They also expect to be treated like kings, lionized as job creators and heroes of prosperity, and consider any criticism an unforgivable act of lèse-majesté.

And for such people, the prospect of a Warren presidency is a nightmarish threat -- not to their wallets, but to their egos. They can try to brush off someone like Bernie Sanders as a rabble-rouser. But when Warren criticizes malefactors of great wealth and proposes reining in their excesses, her evident policy sophistication -- has any previous candidate managed to turn wonkiness into a form of charisma? -- makes her critique much harder to dismiss.

If Warren is the nominee, then, a significant number of tycoons will indeed go for Trump; better to put democracy at risk than to countenance a challenge to their imperial self-esteem. But will it matter?

Maybe not. These days American presidential elections are so awash in money that both sides can count on having enough resources to saturate the airwaves.

Indeed, over-the-top attacks from the wealthy can sometimes be a political plus. That was certainly the case for F.D.R., who reveled in his plutocratic opposition: "They are unanimous in their hate for me -- and I welcome their hatred."

So far Warren seems to be following the same playbook, tweeting out articles about Wall Street's hostility as if they were endorsements, which in a sense they are. It's good to have the right enemies.

I do worry, however, how Wall Streeters will take it if they go all out to defeat Warren and she wins anyway. Washington can bail out their balance sheets, but who can bail out their damaged psyches?

ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs... , September 30, 2019 at 04:59 AM
"Deductive reasoning" within the media message is mob control.

"It ain't what you know... it's what you know that ain't so"#. Keep reading the mainstream media!

Given enough time [and strategy wrt 2020 election] we will get to the bottom of Obama's "criminal influence" on 2016 election.

It takes a lot more to debunk the Biden, Clinton, Nuland, Obama Ukraine drama. To my mind, Ukraine needs to be clean as driven snow* to "earn" javelins to kill Russian speaking rebels.

Why do US from Obama+ fund rebels in Syria (Sunni radicals mainly) and want to send tank killers to suppress rebels where we might get in to the real deal?

# conservatives have been saying that about the 'outrage' started by the MSM for decades.

* not possible given US influenced coup in 2014

+Clinton in Serbia!

[Sep 30, 2019] The best alternative to the current situation: Get Liz Warren elected. But it is completely unclear whether the impeachment favors Warren or Trump

Sep 30, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , September 29, 2019 at 06:46 AM

Best alternative to the above?

Get Liz Warren elected, IMO.

likbez,

Warren might be an improvement over the current situation. Moreover she has some sound ideas about taming the financial oligarchy

"Best alternative to the above? Get Liz Warren elected, IMO."

True. IMHO Warren might be an improvement over the current situation. Moreover she has some sound ideas about taming the financial oligarchy.

The idea of taking on financial oligarchy will find strong support of voters and in some respects she is "a better Trump then Trump" as for restoring the honor and wellbeing of the working people mercilessly squeezed and marginalized by neoliberalism in the USA.

Her book "The two income trap"(2004) suggests that this is not just a classic "bait and switch" election trick in best Obama or Trump style.

And I would say she in her 70 is in better shape then Trump in his 73+. He shows isolated early signs of neurologic damage (some claim sundowning syndrome: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwh6Fu9BcAw slurring speech patterns, repetitions, disorientation, etc), which is natural for any person in his 70th subjected to his level of stress.

But it is completely unclear to me whether the impeachment favors Warren or Trump. the treat of impeachment already cemented fractures in Trump base which now, judging from comments in forums, is really outraged.

Some people are talking about armed resistance, which is, of course, hopeless nonsense in the current national-security state, but does show the state of their mind.

Also nobody here can even imagine the amount of dirt Obama administration accumulated by their actions in Ukraine. They really supported a neo-fascist party and cooperated with neo-Nazi (other important players were Germany, Poland and Sweden). Just to achieve geopolitical victory over Russia. Kind of total reversion of WWII alliance for me.

That avalanche of dirt can affect Warren indirectly as she proved to be a weak, unsophisticated politician by supporting Pelosi drive for impeachment instead of pretending of being neutral. Which would be more appropriate and much safer position.

Neoliberal democrats despite all Pelosi skills ( see https://mediaequalizer.com/martin-walsh/2017/12/gifford-heres-how-pelosi-learned-mob-like-tactics-from-her-father ) really opened a can of worms with this impeachment.

Also it looks like all of them, including Pelosi, are scared of CIA:
https://galacticconnection.com/nancy-pelosi-admits-congress-scared-cia/

== quote ==
In response to Senator Dianne Feinstein’s speech last week calling out the CIA for spying on her staffers, Rep. Nancy Pelosi was asked to comment and gave what might be the most revealing comments to date as to why Congress is so scared of the CIA:


“I salute Sen. Feinstein,” Pelosi said at her weekly news conference of the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “I’ll tell you, you take on the intelligence community, you’re a person of courage, and she does not do that lightly. Not without evidence, and when I say evidence, documentation of what it is that she is putting forth.”

Pelosi added that she has always fought for checks and balances on CIA activity and its interactions with Congress: “You don’t fight it without a price because they come after you and they don’t always tell the truth.
==end==

I strongly doubt that Trump will ever risk to drop a bomb by declassifying documents about Obama dirty actions in Ukraine; so to speak go "all in" against neoliberal Democrats and part of intelligence community (and possibly be JFKed).

But Trump is unpredictable and extremely vindictive. How he will behave after being put against the wall on fake changes is completely unclear. I wonder if Pelosi correctly calculated all the risks.

[Sep 30, 2019] Wall Street fear and loathing of Elizabeth Warren, suggesting that it has more to do with threatened egos than with money per se

Sep 30, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , September 29, 2019 at 08:34 AM

https://twitter.com/paulkrugman/status/1178303352570089473

Paul Krugman @paulkrugman

I wrote the other day about Wall Street fear and loathing of Elizabeth Warren, suggesting that it has more to do with threatened egos than with money per se 1/

Some more thoughts on reports that Wall Street Democrats will back Trump over Warren. Obviously it's hard to know how big a deal this is -- how many of these guys are there, were they ever really Dems, and will they back Trump as more revelations emerge 1/

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/26/wall-street-democratic-donors-may-back-trump-if-warren-is-nominated.html

6:39 AM - 29 Sep 2019

So I remembered a sort of time capsule from the eve of the financial crisis that nicely illustrated how these guys want to be perceived, and retrospectively explains their fury at no longer getting to pose as economic heroes 2/

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/15/business/15gilded.html

The Richest of the Rich, Proud of a New Gilded Age

The new titans often see themselves as pillars of a similarly prosperous and expansive age, one in which their successes and their philanthropy have made government less important than it once was.

The thing is, even at the time the idea that financial deregulation had ushered in a golden age of prosperity was flatly contradicted by the data 3/

[Graph]

And of course the financial crisis -- which is generally considered to have begun just three weeks after that article was published! -- made utter nonsense of their boasting 4/

But they want everyone to forget about the hollowness of their claims to glory; and Warren won't let that happen, which makes her evil in their minds 5/

anne -> anne... , September 29, 2019 at 08:44 AM
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=p1hb0

January 30, 2018

Real Median Family Income in United States, 1954-2018

(Indexed to 2018)

anne -> anne... , September 29, 2019 at 12:11 PM
Correcting link:

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=p1hb

January 30, 2018

Real Median Family Income in United States, 1954-2018

(Indexed to 2018)

[Sep 29, 2019] Did Warren benefitted from killing Hillary's ring in 2016

Sep 29, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

Warren would be more likely to bite off Hillary's finger @Steven D

When Bill was president Warren met with Hillary and persuaded her to talk Bill into killing Biden's increased protection for lenders from rapacious borrowers. When Hillary was senator she supported the Bill. Warren gave an interview on the subject before she was involved in politics. She was not happy.

Warren was the single female Democratic senator who declined to give Hillary an endorsement before the primaries started. That's an event of some significance.

During the debates Warren took actions that helped Bernie on several occasions. Someone, I think Paul Krugman, said Glass Stegall would have done nothing to stop the meltdown because it didn't deal with shadow banking. Bernie was able to respond that he supported Warren's proposed Glass Stegall bill, which did have provisions to regulate shadow banking. On another occasion someone pointed out that Warren's bill did not break up big banks. Warren stated publicly that the bill didn't propose breaking up too big to fail banks but she supported the idea.

Warren and Sanders both supported Clinton when she had the nomination locked up. It was Bernie's responsibility to defend his supporters from Team Clinton's smears and insults during and after the convention.

It wasn't Warren that Clinton invited to the Hamptons to be introduced to a few dozen of her favorite fundraisers. It was Harris.

up 3 users have voted.

Alligator Ed on Sat, 09/28/2019 - 6:06pm

If this is documented, it is quite important

@FuturePassed

It wasn't Warren that Clinton invited to the Hamptons to be introduced to a few dozen of her favorite fundraisers. It was Harris.

But, even if so, Harris was to be nothing more than a Clinton place-holder to be swept aside one HER decided to resurrect the same Dimocratic party, which she has still not successfully destroyed, even with minor assistance from Barack, JoJo and Wild Bill. Nope. My contention is that Hillary Rodent Clinton will sweep the field of duped pseudo-contenders in a fixed horse race. HRC -- still with her!~

[Sep 28, 2019] The Real Winner of Impeaching Trump? Liz Warren by Patrick J. Buchanan

Notable quotes:
"... The first casualty of Pelosi's cause is almost certain to be the front-runner for the party nomination. Joe Biden has already, this past week, fallen behind Senator Elizabeth Warren in Iowa, New Hampshire, and California. ..."
"... By making Ukraine the focus of the impeachment drive in the House, Pelosi has also assured that the questionable conduct of Biden and son Hunter will be front and center for the next four months before Iowa votes. ..."
"... What did Joe do? By his own admission, indeed his boast, as vice president, he ordered then-Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko to either fire the prosecutor who was investigating the company that hired Hunter Biden for $50,000 a month or forego a $1 billion U.S. loan guarantee that Kiev needed to stay current on its debts. ..."
"... There is another question raised by Biden's ultimatum to Kiev to fire the corrupt prosecutor or forego the loan guarantee. Why was the U.S. guaranteeing loans to a Kiev regime that had to be threatened with bankruptcy to get it to rid itself of a prosecutor whom all of Europe supposedly knew to be corrupt? ..."
"... This is bad news for the Biden campaign. And the principal beneficiary of Pelosi's decision that put Joe and Hunter Biden at the center of an impeachment inquiry is, again, Warren. ..."
"... Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of ..."
"... . To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com. ..."
"... the Movers and Shakers in the Democrat Party have wanted Warren as their standard bearer on the belief that Biden is "yesterday" and that the rest of the field is either too loony (O'Rourke), nondescript (Booker) or -- potentially -- too corrupt (Harris).. ..."
"... Warren is the most pro-establishment candidate of all the non-establishment candidates, that is true ..."
"... Roughly 37% of Americans love Trump and will never change their mind. On the other side there are 38% who already supported impeachment based on previous investigations. That leaves 25% of Americans who are likely to be swayed one way or the other over this. In any case, those 25% are unlikely to be on this website. ..."
"... It'll be interesting to see what the voter turnout will be in 2020. 2016 --one of the most pivotal and controversial elections in modern times--saw 42% of the electorate stay home. This was a shockingly high numbter, little noted in the press. If you tack on the 6% who voted for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein, that would mean that 48% of the electorate--nearly half--did NOT vote for either Trump or Clinton. ..."
"... Well, given that Trump has already released the transcript and Zelensky has already confirmed there were no pressure in their conversation plus said that Hunter's case is to be investigated by the AG, any impeachment hearings can only be damaging to those who decide to go further with them, because, as it turns out, there is no basis for such hearings and they were started a year before the election, showing what those who started them think regarding their own chances to win. ..."
Sep 28, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Even before seeing the transcript of the July 25 call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Nancy Pelosi threw the door wide open to impeachment.

Though the transcript did not remotely justify the advanced billing of a "quid pro quo," Pelosi set in motion a process that is already producing a sea change in the politics of 2020.

The great Beltway battle for the balance of this year, and perhaps next, will be over whether the Democrats can effect a coup against a president many of them have never recognized as legitimate and have sought to bring down since before he took the oath of office.

Pelosi on Tuesday started this rock rolling down the hill.

She has made impeachment, which did not even come up in the last Democratic debate, the issue of 2020. She has foreclosed bipartisan compromise on gun control, the cost of prescription drugs, and infrastructure. She has put her and her party's fate and future on the line.

With Pelosi's assent that she is now open to impeachment, she turned what was becoming a cold case into a blazing issue. If the Democrats march up impeachment hill, fail, and fall back, or if they vote impeachment only to see the Senate exonerate the president, that will be the climactic moment of Pelosi's career. She is betting the future of the House, and her party's hopes of capturing the presidency, on the belief that she and her colleagues can persuade the country to support the indictment of a president for high crimes.

One wonders: do Democrats, blinded by hatred of Trump, ever wonder how that 40 percent of the nation that sees him as the repository of their hopes will react if, rather than beat him at the ballot box, they remove him in this way?

The first casualty of Pelosi's cause is almost certain to be the front-runner for the party nomination. Joe Biden has already, this past week, fallen behind Senator Elizabeth Warren in Iowa, New Hampshire, and California. The Quinnipiac poll has her taking the lead nationally for the nomination, with Biden dropping into second place for the first time since he announced his candidacy.

'Ukraine-gate' Will Endanger Biden, Not Trump The Impeachment Train Finally Stops for the Democrats

By making Ukraine the focus of the impeachment drive in the House, Pelosi has also assured that the questionable conduct of Biden and son Hunter will be front and center for the next four months before Iowa votes.

What did Joe do? By his own admission, indeed his boast, as vice president, he ordered then-Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko to either fire the prosecutor who was investigating the company that hired Hunter Biden for $50,000 a month or forego a $1 billion U.S. loan guarantee that Kiev needed to stay current on its debts.

Biden insists the Ukrainian prosecutor was corrupt, that Hunter had done no wrong, that he himself was unaware of his son's business ties. All these assertions have been contradicted or challenged.

There is another question raised by Biden's ultimatum to Kiev to fire the corrupt prosecutor or forego the loan guarantee. Why was the U.S. guaranteeing loans to a Kiev regime that had to be threatened with bankruptcy to get it to rid itself of a prosecutor whom all of Europe supposedly knew to be corrupt?

Whatever the truth of the charges, the problem here is that any investigation of the potential corruption of Hunter Biden, and of the role of his father, the former vice president, in facilitating it, will be front and center in presidential politics between now and New Hampshire.

This is bad news for the Biden campaign. And the principal beneficiary of Pelosi's decision that put Joe and Hunter Biden at the center of an impeachment inquiry is, again, Warren.

Warren already appears to have emerged victorious in her battle with Bernie Sanders to become the progressives' first choice in 2020. And consider how, as she is rising, her remaining opposition is fast fading.

Senator Kamala Harris has said she is moving her campaign to Iowa for a do-or-die stand in the first battleground state. Senator Cory Booker has called on donors to raise $1.7 million in 10 days, or he will have to pack it in. As Biden, Sanders, Harris, and Booker fade, and "Mayor Pete" Buttigieg hovers at 5 or 6 percent in national and state polls, Warren steadily emerges as the probable nominee.

One measure of how deeply Biden is in trouble, whether he is beginning to be seen as too risky, given the allegations against him and his son, will be the new endorsements his candidacy receives after this week of charges and countercharges.

If there is a significant falling off, it could be fatal.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever . To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.


Mark B. 2 days ago

Then the Dems are doing themselves a favor. Biden stands no chance against Trump, Warren does.
Alex (the one that likes Ike) Mark B. 2 days ago
They would be, if it were Sanders to get the nomination. Warren's chances are, obviously, better than Biden's - anyone's, save for complete fringe wackos, are - but, if they really wanted to win, they would need Sanders. Or, even better, Gabbard. But Sanders is too independent, dangerously so, and Gabbard is an outright enemy of their totalitarian cult. Hence, they pick Warren, who might be vaaaaaaaaaaguely considered Sanders-lite. But lite is not enough against someone like Trump. Or, even worse for them, they resort to all possible and impossible machinations to still get Biden nominated. It'll be a screaming mistake, but it's not excluded at all, given how easily the've just been lured into a trap.
Connecticut Farmer Mark B. a day ago
Happened to tune in to Rush Limbaugh yesterday just as he was saying that Pelosi's motivation to spin the wheels was at least in part to kill two birds with one stone--Trump AND Biden. Mehhh...maybe, but it's been clear from the beginning that the Movers and Shakers in the Democrat Party have wanted Warren as their standard bearer on the belief that Biden is "yesterday" and that the rest of the field is either too loony (O'Rourke), nondescript (Booker) or -- potentially -- too corrupt (Harris)..
Mark B. Connecticut Farmer 21 hours ago
Warren is the most pro-establishment candidate of all the non-establishment candidates, that is true . Incrowd-lite. Bernie of course is the big unknown. Will he prevail over Warren?
impedocles 2 days ago
If this scandal sinks Biden and Trump together, the Dems will come out ahead because they are not committed to Biden as their nominee. I think Warren will be the biggest net winner. My prediction is that we see an impeachment with the Senate voting on party lines to acquit. That could still be very damaging to Trump's election chances, if the portion of the public who dislikes Trump decide that he abused his power.

Roughly 37% of Americans love Trump and will never change their mind. On the other side there are 38% who already supported impeachment based on previous investigations. That leaves 25% of Americans who are likely to be swayed one way or the other over this. In any case, those 25% are unlikely to be on this website.

The main question, other than whether there is something damning that shows up, is whether the majority of voters think a quid pro quo is necessary for corruption to be an impeachable offense. It is required in a criminal bribery conviction, but impeachment isn't a criminal trial. Is the president using a diplomatic call to pressure a foreign government to dig up dirt on his political rivals something the 25% will be okay with? If they believe the story of Biden's corruption, will they see that as justification for using a diplomatic talk to push for an investigation into it? Will moderate voters who have a high opinion of Biden from the his time as Vice President view this as an unfair attack on him or will they change their view of him to match Trump's narrative?

Biden is in a tough spot, because he will be smeared here whether he is guilty or not. Trump is very good as slinging mud to distract from his actions. And most Americans are very unlikely to parse through the information overload to figure out whether the fired prosecutor is corrupt, whether the decision to fire him came from Joe or the state department/UK/EU/local protest, whether Hunter Biden was qualified for the job with his ivy law degree/experience on corp boards/previous consulting experience, and whether the investigation into Burisma was actuall ongoing when Shokin was fired. Who has time to read through everything and figure out which side is manufacturing a controversy?

But if Biden decides to go down a Martyr, it wouldn't be difficult for him to take Trump with him.

Connecticut Farmer impedocles a day ago
It'll be interesting to see what the voter turnout will be in 2020. 2016 --one of the most pivotal and controversial elections in modern times--saw 42% of the electorate stay home. This was a shockingly high numbter, little noted in the press. If you tack on the 6% who voted for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein, that would mean that 48% of the electorate--nearly half--did NOT vote for either Trump or Clinton.

These numbers are ominous and do not bode well for the future of this thing of ours.

Alex (the one that likes Ike) impedocles a day ago
Well, given that Trump has already released the transcript and Zelensky has already confirmed there were no pressure in their conversation plus said that Hunter's case is to be investigated by the AG, any impeachment hearings can only be damaging to those who decide to go further with them, because, as it turns out, there is no basis for such hearings and they were started a year before the election, showing what those who started them think regarding their own chances to win. If Democrats want to cut losses, they should stop it now and, using military terms, regroup immediately, nominating Gabbard who consistently opposed this stillborn impeachment stupidity. But something makes me think they won't. Their visceral hatred to an anti-war candidate like her is simply too strong.
Clyde Schechter Alex (the one that likes Ike) 21 hours ago
Update: Tulsi Gabbard came out in favor of impeachment today.
Alex (the one that likes Ike) Clyde Schechter 4 hours ago
And how does it change the fact that a) given the transcript, Democrats merrily fell into a trap b) they hate her because of her anti-war positions?

What has she specifically said, by the way?

Mata L Seen impedocles a day ago
I think you are missing that Trump's lawyers can subpoena people and drag up a lot of dirt on the Democrats too. I think it can go both ways.

Still Warren can be tough for Trump. She is not tainted by Clinton. She is a chameleon; will sound sufficiently WASP in New England and sufficiently woke in California and new York. If Buttgig becomes her sidekick he can get all the gays on-board.

Rick Steven D. Mata L Seen 12 hours ago
You're missing one thing about Warren: she's a wonk. And she actually has some good ideas alongside the more crazy ones. Even Tucker Carlson praised her book.

But Warren is an absolute stiff. Zero charisma. Like Kerry or Gore on their very worst day. And in this day and age, where the only thing that counts for the overwhelming majority of low information voters are soundbites and how telegenic you come off in a debate, someone like Trump will chew her up and spit her out for breakfast.

Sea Hunt 2 days ago
Warren? OK. I don't see how she could be any worse than Trump. Plus, we might not feel like we were snorkeling in a cesspool all the time, like we do now.
Eric Patton a day ago
"Warren already appears to have emerged victorious in her battle with
Bernie Sanders to become the progressives' first choice in 2020."

Buchanan evidently knows few progressives.

marisheba Eric Patton a day ago
Literally every progressive I know save one is team Warren. I think there might be an age divide. Progressives under thirty are more likely to be for Sanders, and over thirty for Warren.
Nowandthen marisheba a day ago
Warren is a progressive of convenience. Her record speak otherwise.

She claim to back M4A insinuating support for Bernies plan by using that term yet has failed to explain her plan which is more baby steps or buy in.

Eric Patton marisheba 12 hours ago • edited
You evidently know few progressives.
Don Quijote a day ago
She has foreclosed bipartisan compromise on gun control, the cost of prescription drugs, and infrastructure.

There was never going to be any compromise on any of these issues, so what is the loss?

WorkingClass a day ago
I have no idea what will happen with the election. But if Trump wins it after the Dems have done nothing for four years except impeach him - every day is going to be like Christmas.
Libertarianski a day ago
notice how it's all womyn @ Fauxcahontas's speeches,
how she gonna win with such a focused group??
Connecticut Farmer a day ago
Hey, did anybody inquire as to whether Biden cleared all this stuff with his boss first? Haven't heard that question posed to date.
Arclight a day ago
I sincerely hope that Trump is right in thinking that Biden is his biggest threat, because this affair is going to ensure Warren is the nominee. I think a lot of proggy Dems know this as well, which partly explains their enthusiasm for impeachment at this particular moment (not that they haven't been itching for this since November 8, 2016).
Salt Lick a day ago
Agree that Biden is toast. Best question from a reporter to Biden since the scandal broke: "Is Hunter dating Ukraine?"

But so is Warren toast against Trump:

View Hide
Ho Hum a day ago
I agree Biden and Bernie are toast but Warren is far from a sure thing. Of all the democratic candidates Tulsi is the most attractive in more ways than one and I could see Tulsi appealing to the many Trump voters who voted for him because he claimed to be non-interventionist only to discover he is a war-pig like the rest of them. Imagine Tulsi in a debate with Trump! If not Tulsi I would bet another high profile Dem will enter the race because Warren is un-electable and I would not be surprised to see Hillary get in the race at the last minute. American's love re-matches and come-back stories.
Barry_D a day ago
Not an honest word. Then again, none was expected.
Alex (the one that likes Ike) Barry_D a day ago
Not a single counterargument from you. Just emotioning, pure in its meaninglessness. Then again, none was expected.
Alex (the one that likes Ike) a day ago
In breaking news: Pelosi has just revealed who was behind all this. It's Cardinal Richelieu Russians again.

Does the girl even understand that, by saying so, she's, basically, stating that she's the chief Russian agent out there, because she was the one who initiated that freak show?

Jesus Harold Christ, what a travelling circus. And this passes for a parliament these days.

Barry F Keane a day ago
Ukrainegate is Watergate in reverse. The farcical impeachment unintentionally acts as a foil, amplifying the significance of the Ukraine stories in the press (John Solomon, Andrew McCarthy) which reveal a culture of corruption and venality permeating the Democratic leadership: the Clintons, the Bidens, the DNC, the current Democratic caucus, and the entire deep state remnants of the obama administration. We haven't seen election interference like this since the Watergate break-in and coverup. This impeachment is the coup-de-grâce of the Democratic Party not just Biden. The Democrat faithful now have a choice between Scylla and Charybdis - self-proclaimed socialists with a tenuous hold on reality, or the discredited establishment. As an old-school Democrat, I can only hope that Trump buries them in 2020, so that the Democrats finally get the message and return to their pre-Clinton roots.
ObamasThirdTerm a day ago • edited
It is insane to pursue impeachment this late in a divisive President's mandate. The Democrats should spend their efforts selecting a moderate nominee that doesn't show signs of cognitive decline (Only candidate that matches these requirements is Tulsi Gabbard. ) rather than make Trump a "victim" in the eyes of many.

Drama Don is doing a good enough job himself to make sure that the Democrats win in 2020. "Trump fatigue" is going to be the most used expression next fall if Trump runs. If Trump is pushed out before the election, the Republicans may choose a charismatic new nominee who actually has a chance to win in 2020. The biggest asset that the Democrats have in 2020 is Trump.

samton909 a day ago • edited
Somebody, somewhere, had decided that Democrats stand little chance with Biden, because he is so old and gaffe prone. So they have put their money on Warren. Warren will choose Buttigieg as VP candidate, primarily because they want all that gay billionaire money flowing in. At the same time, they tick the SJW boxes -woman, gay candidates, so the left will love them. The fix is in.

Hence the stupid "impeachment " controversy, which is obviously a sham to knock Biden out.

Mark Krvavica a day ago
I don't wish U.S. Senator and "Queen" Elizabeth Warren well in 2020.
Will Wilkin a day ago
I voted for Trump, not as a Republican because I despise both political parties. I voted for him based on the need for a nationalist trade policy, and especially because I was so against the TPP --and President Trump rewarded me for that vote his first week in office by pulling the US out of TPP negotiations. Also I have great respect for you, Mr. Buchanan, and learned much from the 3 of your books I've read and recommended to others. But it looks like President Trump has been using his office for personal political gain, so I am sorry to admit I support the impeachment investigation to bring the facts to light and make a judgement of whether it is true he used the office to solicit a foreign country to help undermine his political opponent. But even before this, I'd decided I will not vote for him again, mainly because I have become alarmed at the looming climate crisis, and believe we need urgent policy towards full decarbonization of the global energy economy. But that doesn't motivate me to support the impeachment inquiry, a path I hate and regret...but it seems there is no other way to demand the President not abuse his office and manipulate foreign governments to help his political career. That is no patriot, that is corrupt and an embarrassment to our nation.
Alex (the one that likes Ike) Will Wilkin 4 hours ago
Well, he has just released the transcript. Which specific abuse was there?
Rick Steven D. 13 hours ago • edited
"...effect a coup against a president many of them have never seen as legitimate and have sought to bring down since before he took the oath of office."

Every single word of that describes the Republicans in Congress during the eight years Obama was president. Every single syllable.

Remember that birth certificate? And remember that Dick Tracy villain, Pocket-Neck McConnell, an excrescence that still infects us, standing up and actually saying, with a straight face, "Our ONLY goal is to make Obama a one-term president." Never mind an economy that was in free-fall, right Mitch? Or a couple of bothersome wars going on?

And what about how, for the very first time in history, Standard and Poor's downgraded America's credit rating, all because of completely meaningless Republican obstruction about the debt ceiling? And when I say completely meaningless, I mean completely meaningless. Now, under Trump, the deficit is approaching a trillion, and those very same Republicans couldn't give a hoot.

It's all in the great 2012 book, It's Even Worse Than it Looks, by Ornstein and Mann. We've had partisanship and gridlock before. But what was new is how the Republicans behaved under Obama: they treated him as completely illegitimate from the word go, and absolutely refused to work with him under any and all circumstances. The stimulus, which by the way saved the entire world economy from complete meltdown, didn't get a single Republican vote.

But Republicans can feel proud of one thing: their disgusting, scorched-earth, win-at-all-costs tactics are now business-as-usual in Washington. Probably for all time. Nice going, guys.

dupree 7 4 hours ago
Warren is the best candidate to defeat Trump. She is super smart ,honest and works hard as heck for the non 1% to get more of a fair shake. If she softens her hard left positions she could be a great candidate

[Sep 28, 2019] Joining this witch hunt greatly damages standing of Warren exposing her as a mediocre, malleable politician ( unlike Tulsi )

Sep 28, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

im1dc , September 25, 2019 at 05:23 PM

Interesting day in Presidential politics today.

I assume most here are sick of hearing about it further today.

I enjoy speculating on what Speaker Pelosi might do with the results of the Impeachment Inquiry by the House.

Assumption: The House finds grounds for Impeaching Trump and hands it to Pelosi.

What will she do or rather what can she do?

She can have the full House vote to Impeach and march the Articles over to the Senate.

She can have the House Censure Trump, not vote to Impeach, and go no further at this time. That brings Trump's crimes to light, but saves the country from a Political Trial in the Senate, that won't convict Trump.

She can hold the Committee's report for review and not go forward until and unless she see's the POLITICAL need.

She can, IMO, have the House vote Articles of Impeachment and then HOLD them in the House waiting to take them to the Senate at a much later date of her choice or never.

The Senate cannot act until the Speaker delivers the Articles of Impeachment. No where does the Constitution declare WHEN those Articles, once voted, must be delivered, only that they are to be.

She can set a new precedent if she desires. Who can stop her?

This would allow the Articles to float over Trump's head - and the Re-Election campaign serving to restrain Trump, like a cudgel over his head - preventing or at least limiting more of Trump's outrageous unconstitutional and illegal acts in Office until Election 2020.

Simultaneously this would allow The House to continue its multiple investigations of Trump, including the IRS Whistle Blower complaint, further checking Trump, and even to open more investigations into Trump's abuse of Office, e.g., his use of AG Barr on Ukraine/Biden as well as investigations of AG Barr pursuing Ukraine/Biden.

Not to mention other investigations into Trump including NY's pursuit of Trump's Tax Returns, which could well be as revealing as the Ukraine phone call transcript.

So, while today was interesting in D.C., the future is far more so, imho.

likbez said in reply to im1dc... , September 25, 2019 at 06:17 PM
Let's face it:

1. Biden is now a zombie and has less then zero changes to beat Trump. Even if nothing explosive will be revealed by Ukraine-gate, this investigation hangs like albatross around his neck. Each shot at Trump will ricochet into Biden. Add to this China and the best he can do is to leave the race and claim unfair play.

2. Trump now probably will be reelected on the wave of indignation toward Corporate Dems new witch hunt. People stopped believing neoliberal MSM around 2015, so now neolibs no longer have the leverage they get used to. And by launching Ukraine-gate after Russiagate they clearly overplayed their hand losing critical mass of independents (who previously were ready to abandon Trump_

3. If unpleasant facts about neolib/neocon machinations to launch Ukraine-gate leak via alternative press via disgruntled DNC operatives or some other insiders who are privy to the relevant discussions in the Inner Party, they will poison/destroy the chances of any Dem candidate be it Warren or anybody else. Joining this witch hunt greatly damages standing of Warren exposing her as a mediocre, malleable politician ( unlike Tulsi )

4. Instead of running on policy issues the Democrats again tried to find vague dirt with which they can tarnish Trump. This is a huge political mistake which exposes them as political swindlers.

Neolib/neocon in Democratic Party from now on will be viewed as "The Children of Lieutenant Schmidt" (a fictional society of swindlers from the 1931 classic "The Little Golden Calf" by Ilf and Petrov).

I would say that Pelosi might now be able to understand better the situation in which Wasserman-Shultz had found herself in 2016 and resign.

IMHO this is a king of zugzwang for neoliberal Dems. There is no good exit from this situation.

After two years of falsely accusing Trump to have colluded with Russia they now allege that he colluded with Ukraine.

In addition to overpaying their hand that makes it more difficult for the Democrats to hide their critical role in creating and promoting Russiagate.

Here is one post from MA which tries to analyse this situation:

== quote ==
nil , Sep 25 2019 19:37 utc | 24
I think what's going in the brain trust of the DNC is something like this:

i. Biden is a non-starter with the public. He'll be devoured alive by the Republicans, who only need to bring up his career to expose his mendacity.

ii. Warren might be co-opted, having been a Republican and fiscal conservative up to the mid-90s, but what if she isn't?

iii. Sanders is a non-starter, but with the "people who matter". Rather than having to threaten him with the suspicions around his wife, or go for the JFK solution, they'd rather [make that] he didn't even get past the primaries, much less elected.

iv. As a CNN talking head said weeks ago, it's better for the wealthy people the DNC is beholden to that their own candidate loses to Trump if that candidate is Sanders.

So better to hedge their bets start impeachment hearings, give Trump ammunition to destroy Sanders or Warren. That way, the rich win in all scenarios:

a. If Biden wins the nomination, the campaign will be essentially mudslinging from both sides about who is more corrupt. The rich are fine with whoever wins.

b. If Warren gets the nomination and is co-opted, the media will let the impeachment hearings die out, or the House themselves will quickly bury it.

c. If Warren gets the nomination and is not co-opted, or if Sanders get it, the impeachment will suck up all the air of the room, Trump will play the witchhunt card and will be re-elected.

likbez -> ken melvin...

, September 25, 2019 at 07:53 PM

That's a very good idea to concentrate on your job instead of some fluff, or worse, criminal activity.

Millions of dollars, millions of manhours of political discourse and newsmedia coverage, were wasted on Russiagate. That's a typical "control fraud." Control fraud occurs when a trusted person in a high position of responsibility in a company, corporation, or state subverts the organization and engages in extensive fraud (in this case a witch hunt) for personal gain.

Those hours could have been used researching and discussing country foreign policy, economic policy, healthcare policy, industrial policy, environment policy and other important for this nation topics.

Instead the Dems chased a ghost (and they knew that this a ghost) for 3 years and now Pelosi have just signaled that they will spend the next 6 months chasing another ghost -- trying to impeach Trump for his attempt to re-launch (in his trademark clumsy, bulling way) investigating Joe Biden's family corruption in Ukraine. Action which is in full compliance with The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (FCPA)

During the last two years there were actions of Trump that probably deserved launching impeachment proceeding. For example, attempt of regime change in Venezuela. But neoliberal Dems were fully on board with that. So the main loss which this bunch of swindlers can't settle with is the the loss in their ability to defraud the country: I feel that the neoliberal Democrats' real problem with Trump is that he ended their scheme of defrauding the country in favor of his own.

Now with this Ukraine-gate scandal the US voters have, in effect, are being defrauded by a group of the same sophisticated political swindlers that ruled the county during Clinton and Obama administrations.

Joe -> likbez...

, September 26, 2019 at 11:42 PM

Right on all accounts.

Except this:

"Instead of running on policy issues the Democrats again tried to find vague dirt with which they can tarnish Trump."

If Warren is nominated she can run on dirt because she does not have the sewage history. If she runs on policy people will remember that she will fce 20 million families who got a $500/month Obamacare tax. These are the families that cost Dems four elections. She should not mention medicare at all, once she has the nomination.

Impeachment is what happens when a President has sex and lies about it. So it has become meaningless, thanks to Repubs.

If I were Trump, I would take the impeachment and run with it. Trump will claim he got impeached because he was hunting for Biden sewage, and there is no Biden, thanks to the impeachment. His team agrees, take the impeachment and run with it.

Who liked Biden? None of the young turks, they want Biden out as badly as they want Trump out. I just have this feeling, Biden is a gonner, sort of a bipartisan play if you ask me.

Joe , September 25, 2019 at 06:12 PM
For The First Time, Warren Beats Out Biden For No. 1 Spot In National Poll
--

Biden gone. Harris gone. Pete gone. Beto gone. It is between Bernie and Liz. Both of whom will be telling 10 million families that health care is free and they will not get hit with a $500/month tax. Problem is, voters regret on this is lifelong, a ot of voters, right here in this blog, think Obamacare was deceptive. But these same voters now put the cost on the federal debt machine, courtesy of Trump, and they prefer that.

Trump wins as long as there is no blue bar and Repubs avoid mass shootings in Florida or Texas. We, this group and our favorite economists have lost credibility on medical programs.

likbez -> Joe... , September 25, 2019 at 07:35 PM
"It is between Bernie and Liz. "
Looks like it is just Liz. She is younger ;-)

[Sep 27, 2019] Sanders endorsed the impeachment proceedings

Sanders is spend force in any case. His endorsement does not matter much. But for Warren this is a blunder. Tulsi is the only one out of this troika who proved to be capable politician.
Sep 27, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
karlof1 , Sep 26 2019 19:23 utc | 51
bevin @41--

As I reported on the previous thread, Sanders endorsed the impeachment proceedings in a tweet I linked to and cited. Gabbard is apparently the only D-Party candidate that said this decision is a mistake. This article about her stance is actually balanced. Citing her recent interview by FOXNews :

"'I have been consistent in saying that I believe that impeachment in this juncture would be terribly divisive for our country at a time when we are already extremely divided,' Gabbard explained. 'Hyper-partisanship is one of the things that's driving our country apart.'

"'I think it's important to defeat Donald Trump. That's why I'm running for president, but I think it's the American people who need to make their voices heard, making that decision,' she said.

"Regardless of how you feel about Gabbard, you have to give her credit on this front. America is extremely divided today and politicians in Washington play into that. The impeachment saga is a prime example of their role in this division ." [My Emphasis]

When one digs deeper into the forces Gabbard's attacking, she's the most patriotic one of the entire bunch, including the Rs. I haven't looked at her election websites recently, but from what I see of her campaign appearances, her and Sanders seem to be sharing each other's policy proposals, although they both choose to place more emphasis on some than others. For Gabbard, its the wonton waste and corruption of the Empire that keeps good things from being done for all citizens at home, whereas Sanders basically inverts the two.

[Sep 26, 2019] You Can Have Brandeis or You Can Have Debs

Sep 26, 2019 | jacobinmag.com

Elizabeth Warren understands better than most the difference between her and Bernie Sanders.

"He's a socialist," Warren explains , "and I believe in markets." She's a " capitalist to [her] bones ," and Sanders is a democratic socialist .

Minor quibbles aside -- Warren presumably doesn't derive most of her income from capital owner-ship, and markets are compatible with socialism -- the Massachusetts senator is right. She and Sanders draw their lineage from distinct political traditions.

Warren is a regulator at heart who believes that capitalism works well as long as fair competition exists; Sanders is a class-conscious tribune who sees capitalism as fundamentally unjust . Warren frames her most ambitious reforms as bids to make capitalism " accountable "; Sanders pushes legislation called the " Stop BEZOS Act " and denounces ceos for exploiting workers . Warren seeks a harmonious accord between workers and employers; Sanders encourages workers to fight back.

Foreign policy differences spring from their respective traditions as well. While both are suspicious of military interventionism, Vermont's junior senator has shown himself much more willing to criticize the crimes of US empire -- famously proclaiming in a 2016 debate with Hillary Clinton that "Henry Kissinger is not my friend." Warren, though a critic of Bush-style adventurism, sees America's role in more conventional terms, arguing in a Foreign Affairs essay this year that we should "project American strength and values throughout the world."

Warren's political tradition is the left edge of middle-class liberalism; Sanders hails from America's socialist tradition. Or, to put the distinction in more personal terms: Warren is Louis Brandeis , Sanders is Eugene Debs .

[Sep 25, 2019] Warren most probably will win the Democratic nomination

Look also at the story about Warren daughter and Working Families Party -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jugq-wdI_7I
Notable quotes:
"... Rudy Drops New Bombs: Slams Obama Cabinet 'Pattern Of Corruption'; Claims China 'Bought' Biden ..."
"... Warren wins the nomination because the issue is Swamp Sewage and she hasn't been around long enough to emit much of it. Biden has a ton of it. Trump has three years of it. ..."
Sep 25, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Joe , September 25, 2019 at 10:26 AM

Rudy Drops New Bombs: Slams Obama Cabinet 'Pattern Of Corruption'; Claims China 'Bought' Biden

---

Rudy on a roll. Go look it up on a safe site.

Warren wins the nomination because the issue is Swamp Sewage and she hasn't been around long enough to emit much of it. Biden has a ton of it. Trump has three years of it.

[Sep 25, 2019] Tulsi is the only talented politician among those who are running on Democratic Platform; Warren proved to be a mediocre politician. I still believe that Warren has chances to win against Trump. But with such moves by Dem leadership this might no longer be true.

Notable quotes:
"... Warren proved to be a very weak, mediocre politician. By joining the calls to "Impeach Trump" she proved this again. And this is not the first time she made a very bad call. Looks like she is completely malleable candidate. The candidate without spine outside his favorite re-regulation issues. ..."
"... Ukraine-gate impeachment process (aka another attempt to demonize Trump after Russiagate fiasco) is what Trump badly needs now, as it will cement his voting block and might bring back those voters who are appalled by his betrayal of almost all election promises. ..."
"... As Ukraine-gate is based on a false rumor and actually implicates Biden, not Trump (and after Trump decision to open the transcript Dems now need to move goalposts like it was with the inner party member Parteigenosse Mueller witch hunt ). ..."
"... It portrays the Dems as clueless political scum who are ready to resort to dirty tricks in order to protect neoliberal warmonger Biden, and maintain Wall-Street favorable status quo. ..."
Sep 25, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Plp -> im1dc... , September 24, 2019 at 11:56 AM

The Senate republicans should be forced to block trumps impeachment. This is a good election issue in deep purple states with a senator up for re election. Plus a good house issue. Let the people judge both party wagons

Trump and Biden make a perfect pair of party Totem heads

likbez -> Plp... , September 25, 2019 at 08:28 AM
Tulsi is the only talented politician among those who are running on Democratic Platform.

And I applaud her courage to stand against the mob

Warren proved to be a very weak, mediocre politician. By joining the calls to "Impeach Trump" she proved this again. And this is not the first time she made a very bad call. Looks like she is completely malleable candidate. The candidate without spine outside his favorite re-regulation issues.

She essentially gave Trump additional ammunition to attack her and poach her supporters. I would now attack her along the lines:

"Do not believe anything Warren say; she does have spine. Look how easily she was co-opted to join this witch-hunt. If Warren wins, she will instantly fold and will do what bought by Wall Street Dems leadership will ask her. I am not perfect but I withstood Russiagate witch-hunt and that proves that with all my faults I am the only independent politician in this race, who can go against the flow and deliver what was promised; please give additional time and I will deliver"

Of course, this is disingenuous projection as Trump did the same, but that's politics ;-)

I still believe that Warren has chances to win against Trump. But with such moves by Dem leadership this might no longer be true. Why Warren does not attack Trump disastrous domestic and foreign policy record instead of making such questionable calls is not clear to me. Just a diagram "Trump promises vs reality" as election advertisement might improve her chances.

Ukraine-gate impeachment process (aka another attempt to demonize Trump after Russiagate fiasco) is what Trump badly needs now, as it will cement his voting block and might bring back those voters who are appalled by his betrayal of almost all election promises.

As Ukraine-gate is based on a false rumor and actually implicates Biden, not Trump (and after Trump decision to open the transcript Dems now need to move goalposts like it was with the inner party member Parteigenosse Mueller witch hunt ).

It portrays the Dems as clueless political scum who are ready to resort to dirty tricks in order to protect neoliberal warmonger Biden, and maintain Wall-Street favorable status quo.

[Sep 25, 2019] Warren would try to re-negotiate another Iran Nuclear Deal.

Sep 25, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

im1dc -> anne... , September 23, 2019 at 07:37 AM

Does anyone know S. Warren's position on this?

Has she said she will re-enter the Iran Nuclear Agreement?

I assume so but don't know.

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to im1dc... , September 23, 2019 at 07:52 AM
Where 2020 Democratic hopefuls stand on Iran
https://go.shr.lc/2FrKc4I
via @commondreams - June 23

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who has supported the nuclear agreement since its inception, has levied criticism toward the White House. On June 18, in response to a New York Times report titled, "Trump Adds Troops After Iran Says It Will Breach Nuclear Deal" (a questionable media framing given that the U.S. had already violated the deal), she tweeted:

"I hope Iran chooses a different path. But let's be clear: Trump provoked this crisis. He has no strategy to contain it, he's burned through our friends and allies, and now he's doubling down on military force. We can't afford another forever war."

While Warren was correct to argue against war, she opens by appearing to place blame against Iran, neglecting to acknowledge the U.S.'s role in villainizing Iran in the first place.

On June 20, after reports of the Navy drone were published, Warren elaborated on her comments, adopting a stronger oppositional stance to the prospect of war with Iran.

"Trump provoked this crisis, and his reckless foreign policy by tweet will only worsen it. I've co-sponsored legislation to prohibit a war with Iran. We need to de-escalate tensions -- not let the war hawks in this administration drag us into conflict. #NoWarWithIran"

That same day, she followed with

"Donald Trump promised to bring our troops home. Instead he has pulled out of a deal that was working and instigated another unnecessary conflict. There is no justification for further escalating this crisis -- we need to step back from the brink of war."

Here, Warren uses stronger language to denounce Trump's actions, but still falls short of a moral denunciation of U.S. violence or a more incisive analysis of the Iran nuclear deal's power relations. Meanwhile, Warren's vote for new sanctions against Iran in 2017 weakens her legislative record. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , September 23, 2019 at 07:57 AM
Warren is far more progressive than mainstream Democrats like Joe Biden. She calls for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. Warren campaigns for the United State to rejoin the nuclear accord with Iran and to end trade pacts that hurt workers.

"Warren's foreign policy positions have shifted a fair amount in recent years, particularly during the past few months," says Stephen Zunes, a professor of politics at the University of San Francisco, who provides foreign policy advice to the Warren campaign.

Elizabeth Warren on War and Peace
https://go.shr.lc/2MjA563 via @commondreams

im1dc -> Fred C. Dobbs... , September 23, 2019 at 04:52 PM
Thank you, Fred.

S. Warren would try to re-negotiate another Iran Nuclear Deal.

[Sep 24, 2019] Warren improved her chances to beat Biden in Iowa

Sep 24, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

"Warren's rise shakes up Democratic field" [ The Hill ]. "A new poll showing Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) leading former Vice President Joe Biden in Iowa has shaken up the Democratic nomination battle -- and insiders across the party are gaming out what it all means. Warren currently has 22 percent support to Biden's 20 percent, according to the well-respected Des Moines Register–CNN–Mediacom poll, released Saturday night. The two are well clear of the rest of the field, with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in third place with 11 percent support . With more than four months to go, the experts all agree that it's too early to make solid predictions. But the battle for Iowa is heating up by the day."

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https://eus.rubiconproject.com/usync.html

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dcrane , September 24, 2019 at 3:09 pm

Re: Warren triumphalism/polls

Is there any reason to see what is going on as more than just Biden support bailing to "Plan C", i.e., the next most establishment-friendly candidate who has any apparent chance of winning? Sanders' support seems solid. Admittedly, I would much rather see Sanders slowly eating away at the "pro-establishment" fraction of Dem voters, but there is nothing to suggest that he is losing support.

nippersmom , September 24, 2019 at 2:25 pm

The more I see of Warren, the less I like her- and I would not have voted for her to begin with. I'm getting very tired of moderate Republicans being packaged and sold as "progressives".

hunkerdown , September 24, 2019 at 3:28 pm

To her credit, Warren does have a theory of change:

After dinner, "Larry leaned back in his chair and offered me some advice," Ms. Warren writes. "I had a choice. I could be an insider or I could be an outsider. Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don't listen to them. Insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their ideas. People -- powerful people -- listen to what they have to say. But insiders also understand one unbreakable rule: They don't criticize other insiders.

"I had been warned," Ms. Warren concluded.

Message received and understood!

jsn , September 24, 2019 at 3:54 pm

"• I'm not sure I agree. There are many, many, many of those "boutique lobbying or consulting shops" -- "

And how is Trump's shakedown hotel any different from DNC dialing for dollars? Or would it be better if he limited himself just renting out the Lincoln Bedroom like the Clintons did?

Lambert Strether Post author , September 24, 2019 at 4:03 pm

I want to reiterate the point that Yglesias seems incapable of recognizing* that a network of small shops could create more damage than one guy, even a titan. Look at health care policy, for example. It looks like Elizabeth Warren's daughter runs a body-shop for the kind of person Yglesias regards as harmless. Thread:

Samuel Douglas Retweeted Samuel Douglas

I spent some time looking into Warren Tyagi's consulting firm (Business Talent Group), and I learned some interesting things 1/

Samuel Douglas ‏ @ CANCEL_SAM Aug 25

Replying to @ philosophrob

Elizabeth Warren's daughter co-founded HealthAllies, a venture capital-backed health benefits firm which was later acquired by United Health Group, the second largest health insurer in the U.S.

NOTE * Incapable of recognizing, because obviously professionals don't have class interests.

Baby Gerald , September 24, 2019 at 5:23 pm

Wow, thanks for this, Lambert. See my link to the story in a reply above for yet another shady bit about Warren's daughter. I wouldn't normally find myself on RedState, but searching 'WARren daughter WFP' in the googlygoo brought this up first and after a read-through, seems pretty straight-up. It even includes reporting from Jordan Chariton in the meat of the story.

It's time for Warren to drop out. She's way too compromised.

[Sep 23, 2019] Tucker Carlson labelled the liberal Massachusetts senator and top contender for the Democratic presidential nomination a "joke" and a "living tragedy."

Sep 23, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs , September 15, 2019 at 06:59 AM

(An op-ed heavy on irony.)

How Donald Trump just might save
the Republican Party -- and the country
https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2019/09/06/how-donald-trump-just-might-save-republican-party-and-country/qbew52NeSqBhmFGQ6t6GaM/story.html?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe

David Scharfenberg - September 6

FOX NEWS HOST Tucker Carlson was saying nice things about Elizabeth Warren again.

Well, not entirely nice things.

Speaking at a conference of conservative journalists and intellectuals this summer (*), he took a moment to label the liberal Massachusetts senator and top contender for the Democratic presidential nomination a "joke" and a "living tragedy."

But he also spoke, in admiring tones and at substantial length, about "The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents Are Going Broke," the book Warren wrote with her daughter in 2004.

"Elizabeth Warren wrote one of the best books I've ever read on economics," he said.

(The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents Are Going Broke
https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/The-Two-Income-Trap%3A-Why-Middle-Class-Parents-Are-Tyagi-Warren/9e71e947ba3ba9f8a993eb39699b9d9baacff235 )

By that point, he'd already warned his audience about the perils of "monopoly power" and declared that income inequality, which the right had long been trained to believe is "just a pure invention of some diabolical French intellectual to destroy America," is actually "completely real" and "totally bad."

His Bolshevist pronouncements were probably not a surprise to anyone who'd watched Carlson's show closely in the months leading up to his speech. But Fox, despite its outsize influence, has a relatively small audience.

And it's not just Carlson's evolution that's escaped notice. It's hard to keep track of what most of the key players on the right are saying these days, with President Trump soaking up so much attention.

But while the commander-in-chief thrashes about, something important is taking shape in his shadow -- the outlines of a new conservatism inspired, or at least elevated, by his rise to power.

It's a conservatism that tries to wrestle with the post-Cold War, post-industrial angst that fired his election -- dropping a reflexive fealty to big business that dates back to the Reagan era and focusing more intently on the struggles of everyday Americans.

"There are many downsides, I will say, to Trump," Carlson said, in his speech this summer. "But one of the upsides is, the Trump election was so shocking, so unlikely ... that it did cause some significant percentage of people to say, 'wait a second, if that can happen, what else is true?' "

The reimagining is playing out not just on Carlson's show or in conservative journals, but among a small batch of young, ambitious Republicans in Congress led by senators Josh Hawley of Missouri and Marco Rubio of Florida.

Their populist -- or "nationalist" or "post-liberal" -- prescriptions sometimes smack of opportunism. And it's still not clear how far they're willing to stray from their party. But it looks like there are places where the new nationalists could find common cause with an energized left.

Whether the two sides can actually forge a meaningful alliance in the glare of our hyperpartisan politics is an open question. But a compact -- even a provisional one -- may offer the country its best shot at building a meaningful, post-Trump politics.

. . .

CARLSON DELIVERED HIS speech at the National Conservatism Conference -- the first major gathering aimed at forging a new, right-of-center approach in the age of Trump.

"This is our independence day," said Yoram Hazony, an Israeli political theorist and chief organizer of the event, in his spirited opening remarks. "We declare independence from neoconservatism, from libertarianism, from what they call classical liberalism."

"We are national conservatives," he said.

Any effort to build a right-of-center nationalism circa 2019 inevitably runs into questions about whether it will traffic in bigotry.

And one of the speakers, University of Pennsylvania law professor Amy Wax, seemed to do just that -- suggesting that "cultural compatibility" should play a role in deciding which migrants are allowed into the country.

"In effect," she said, this "means taking the position that our country will be better off with more whites and fewer nonwhites."

But Wax's speech, however discomfiting, stood out because it was so discordant.

Conference organizers took pains to prevent hate-mongers from attending -- ultimately rejecting six applicants. ...

"Your ideas," he said, "are not welcome here." ...

* At the National Conservatism Conference, an
'Intellectual Trumpist' Movement Begins to Take Shape
https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/07/national-conservatism-conference-intellectual-trumpist-movement/

[Sep 18, 2019] Neoliberalism in action: Another School Leadership Disaster Private Companies Work an Insider Game to Reap Lucrative Contracts

Notable quotes:
"... By Jeff Bryant, a writing fellow and chief correspondent for Our Schools , a project of the Independent Media Institute. He is a communications consultant, freelance writer, advocacy journalist, and director of the Education Opportunity Network, a strategy and messaging center for progressive education policy. His award-winning commentary and reporting routinely appear in prominent online news outlets, and he speaks frequently at national events about public education policy. Follow him on Twitter @jeffbcdm. produced by Our Schools , a project of the Independent Media Institute. ..."
"... One of the first school districts to become entangled in the conglomeration of firms Wise and Sundstrom assembled was Nashville, which in 2016 chose Jim Huge and Associates to help with hiring a new superintendent. The following year the board hired Shawn Joseph, whom Huge had recommended. ..."
"... Shortly after Joseph arrived in Nashville, according to local News Channel 5 investigative reporter Phil Williams, he began pushing the district to give $1.8 million in no-bid contracts to Performance Matters, a Utah-based technology company that sells "software solutions" to school districts. ..."
"... In addition to pushing Performance Matters, Williams reported, Joseph gave an "inside track" to Discovery Education, a textbook and digital curriculum provider and another company he and his team had ties to from their work in Maryland. ..."
"... By June 2018, Nashville school board member Amy Frogge was questioning Joseph about possible connections these vendors might have to ERDI. A district audit would confirm that ERDI's affiliated companies -- including Performance Matters, Discovery Education, and six other companies -- had signed contracts totaling more than $17 million with the district since Joseph had been hired. ..."
"... "Too often, national search firms are also driven by money-making motives and/or connections with those seeking profit," Frogge contended. That conflict of interest is a concern not only in Nashville but also in other districts where school leaders with deep ties to education vendors and consultants have resulted in huge scandals that traumatized communities and cost taxpayers millions. ..."
Sep 18, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on September 18, 2019 by Lambert Strether

Lambert here: More corruption in the professional class.

By Jeff Bryant, a writing fellow and chief correspondent for Our Schools , a project of the Independent Media Institute. He is a communications consultant, freelance writer, advocacy journalist, and director of the Education Opportunity Network, a strategy and messaging center for progressive education policy. His award-winning commentary and reporting routinely appear in prominent online news outlets, and he speaks frequently at national events about public education policy. Follow him on Twitter @jeffbcdm. produced by Our Schools , a project of the Independent Media Institute.

In July 2013, the education world was rocked when a breaking story by Chicago independent journalist Sarah Karp reported that district CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett had pushed through a no-bid $20 million contract to provide professional development to administrators with a private, for-profit company called SUPES Academy, which she had worked for a year before the deal transpired. Byrd-Bennett was also listed as a senior associate for PROACT Search, a superintendent search firm run by the same individuals who led SUPES.

By 2015, federal investigators looked into the deal and found reason to charge Byrd-Bennett for accepting bribes and kickbacks from the company that ran SUPES and PROACT. A year-and-a-half later, the story made national headlines when Byrd-Bennett was convicted and sentenced to prison for those charges. But anyone who thought this story was an anomaly would be mistaken. Similar conflicts of interest among private superintendent search firms, their associated consulting companies, and their handpicked school leaders have plagued multiple school districts across the country.

In an extensive examination, Our Schools has discovered an intricate web of businesses that reap lucrative school contracts funded by public tax dollars. These businesses are often able to place their handpicked candidates in school leadership positions who then help make the purchasing decision for the same businesses' other products and services, which often include professional development, strategic planning, computer-based services, or data analytics. The deals are often brokered in secrecy or presented to local school boards in ways that make insider schemes appear legitimate.

As in the Byrd-Bennett scandal, school officials who get caught in this web risk public humiliation, criminal investigation, and potential jail time, while the businesses that perpetuate this hidden arrangement continue to flourish and grow.

The results of these scandals are often disastrous. School policies and personnel are steered toward products that reward private companies rather than toward research-proven methods for supporting student learning and teacher performance. School governance becomes geared to the interests of well-connected individuals rather than the desires of teachers and voters. And when insider schemes become public, whole communities are thrown into chaos, sometimes for years, resulting in wasted education dollars and increased disillusionment with school systems and local governance.

While media accounts generally frame these scandals as examples of corrupt school leaders who got caught and brought to justice, reporters rarely delve into the corporate-operated enterprises that undergird the whole system.

A Potent Business Model

Months before Byrd-Bennett's conviction, another individual connected to the Chicago scandal, SUPES co-owner Gary Solomon, pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges related to a scheme that diverted over $5 million in public money from the Chicago contracts into his private pocket.

Solomon, who had been forced out of a previous job as a high school administrator after he was accused of racist comments and "preying" on female students, cofounded SUPES -- along with sister companies PROACT Search and Synesi Associates -- with his former student Thomas Vranas, who also pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the Chicago deals.

Although Solomon and Vranas got caught and were convicted for their scheme, they nevertheless stumbled on a potent business model that combined PROACT's superintendent search services with SUPES Academy professional development programs and consulting by Synesi Associates to help districts "implement reform strategies." Combining leader recruitment with leadership training and consulting gave Solomon and Vranas three ways into a business relationship with a school district and multiple ways to upsell clients into more expensive new contracts.

New administrators PROACT helped place in leadership roles could be reliable allies for pitching professional development services to the district. School districts that had employed SUPES might be more inclined to hire PROACT for a leadership search. And Synesi would have an inside track for its consulting services. Further, any of the firm's school leader contacts who became idle between full-time jobs, which often happens in this profession, would be able to work for the firm as "associates."

School districts may have welcomed this arrangement as a form of "one-stop shopping" for their needs, but it's not hard to see how it could lead to conflicts of interest and a veil for fraud.

Chicago was not the only district that fell for the pitch. Shortly after news of the Byrd-Bennett scandal broke, school districts in DeKalb County , Illinois; Fayette County (Lexington), Kentucky; and Lancaster , Pennsylvania ended their contracts with PROACT.

In Iowa City, Iowa, a local reporter found the district had a contract with Synesi Associates to conduct an audit of the district and then hired PROACT to recruit candidates for a vacant director position. At the same time, superintendent Stephen Murley took 34 days off work to do paid consulting for those two organizations and for SUPES Academy.

In St. Louis , superintendent Kelvin Adams started consulting for SUPES shortly after the school board awarded a $125,000 contract to the firm, Sarah Karp and Melissa Sanchez reported. The district also awarded a $16,500 no-bid deal to Synesi.

But Solomon and Vranas did not invent this money-making strategy, nor did it die when they were convicted and sent to jail.

From Retail Store to Mega-Mall

In June 2016, the Chicago Sun Times reported that in the wake of the Byrd-Bennett scandal, parts of SUPES Academy were purchased by Joseph Wise and his partner David Sundstrom. Their Chicago-based firm Atlantic Research Partners (ARP) had already gotten at least $5 million in recent business from Chicago schools. (Sundstrom would later contend ARP rescinded the agreement to acquire SUPES and that the "only remaining connection between the companies" was a licensing of training material.)

Wise founded ARP with Sundstrom in 2007 after both had been ousted from their jobs in the Duval County, Florida, school district due to alleged "serious misconduct." According to the ARP website, the project's mission was to launch a "teacher-training program focused on instructional coaching and school capacity-building."

Around the same time ARP was acquiring parts of SUPES, the company also merged with Jim Huge and Associates, a firm with deep experience in school superintendent and other talent searches. Huge had also served as chief strategy officer for PROACT Search. The announced rationale of the merger was "to maximize seamless delivery of the intensive executive services to schools and school leaders."

Undoubtedly, what Wise and Sundstrom assembled was similar to the three-part business model Solomon and Vranas put together. What was different, though, was Wise and Sundstrom would expand on the model with their subsequent acquisition of Education Research and Development Institute (ERDI).

According to Louisiana school teacher and wily blogger Mercedes Schneider , Sundstrom registered an entity called ERDI Partners as a business with a Florida address in 2017.

But an entity called ERDI had been in existence since at least 2005 when an article in Education Week described the company as an intermediary organization bringing together school administrators and education vendors to help companies improve the products and services they offer school systems. Specifically, ERDI arranged get-togethers by paying superintendents consulting fees plus expenses to travel to conferences at luxury resorts where they would meet with company representatives. The companies, in turn, underwrote the conferences with substantial fees paid to ERDI.

Critics of ERDI argue that the company's model for paying school administrators for their advice on education products inevitably leads to conflict of interest issues when those administrators are presented with offers to purchase products promoted by ERDI.

Byrd-Bennett had a relationship with ERDI dating back to at least 2014 and was listed as senior advisor on the firm's website while she was employed as Chicago schools' CEO.

With the acquisition of ERDI, Wise and Sundstrom could transform their business model from a lone retail operation to a mega-mall of education vendors of all kinds.

'The Search Was Manipulated'

One of the first school districts to become entangled in the conglomeration of firms Wise and Sundstrom assembled was Nashville, which in 2016 chose Jim Huge and Associates to help with hiring a new superintendent. The following year the board hired Shawn Joseph, whom Huge had recommended.

Shortly after Joseph arrived in Nashville, according to local News Channel 5 investigative reporter Phil Williams, he began pushing the district to give $1.8 million in no-bid contracts to Performance Matters, a Utah-based technology company that sells "software solutions" to school districts.

Williams found Joseph had spoken at the company's conference and he had touted the company's software products in promotional materials while he was employed in his previous job in Maryland. Williams also unearthed emails showing Joseph began contract talks with Performance Matters two weeks before he formally took office in Nashville. What also struck Williams as odd was that despite the considerable cost of the contract, district employees were not required to use the software.

In addition to pushing Performance Matters, Williams reported, Joseph gave an "inside track" to Discovery Education, a textbook and digital curriculum provider and another company he and his team had ties to from their work in Maryland. With Joseph's backing, Discovery Education received an $11.4 million contract to provide a new science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) program even though a smaller company came in with a bid that was a fraction of what Discovery proposed.

By June 2018, Nashville school board member Amy Frogge was questioning Joseph about possible connections these vendors might have to ERDI. A district audit would confirm that ERDI's affiliated companies -- including Performance Matters, Discovery Education, and six other companies -- had signed contracts totaling more than $17 million with the district since Joseph had been hired.

Frogge also came to realize that all these enterprises were connected to the firm who had been instrumental in hiring Joseph -- Jim Huge and Associates.

"The search that brought Shawn Joseph to Nashville was clearly manipulated," Frogge told Our Schools in an email, "and the school board was kept in the dark about Joseph's previous tenure in Maryland and his relationships with vendor companies."

Frogge said some of the manipulation occurred when the search firm told school board members that disputes among current board members -- over charter schools, school finances, and other issues -- indicated the district was "'too dysfunctional' to hire top-level superintendents and therefore needed to hire a less experienced candidate."

But previous investigations of school leadership search firms conducted by Our Schools have found companies like these frequently forego background checks of prospective candidates they recommend, promote favored candidates regardless of their experience or track record, and push board members to keep the entire search process, including the final candidates, confidential from public scrutiny.

"Too often, national search firms are also driven by money-making motives and/or connections with those seeking profit," Frogge contended. That conflict of interest is a concern not only in Nashville but also in other districts where school leaders with deep ties to education vendors and consultants have resulted in huge scandals that traumatized communities and cost taxpayers millions.

In the Youngstown City School District in Ohio, CEO Krish Mohip became mired in questions about his role as a paid consultant for ERDI while the district had a $261,914 contract with a partner company of ERDI. Under calls for his resignation, Mohip left before his contract was up.

Beaufort County School District in South Carolina became the subject of an FBI investigation because of contracts with ERDI and 30 other companies connected to the firm while superintendent Jeff Moss worked as a paid consultant for ERDI. He resigned from the district two years before his contract was up.

In Pittsburgh, superintendent Anthony Hamlet drew scrutiny when reporters found the district spent more than $14 million on dozens of no-bid contracts to firms connected to ERDI at the same time Hamlet was serving as a paid consultant with the company.

In Baltimore County, Maryland, Shaun Dallas Dance made national headlines when he was convicted of perjury committed during his time as superintendent of the district. Dance had concealed $4,600 he'd been paid by ERDI. After Dance participated in confidential meetings with vendors at an ERDI conference, the district extended contracts from companies connected to the firm.

Obviously, school board members could avoid these conflicts by avoiding leadership search firms and consultants connected to ERDI. But that is easier said than done.

After Baltimore County's troubles with Dance, it hired the independent firm Ray and Associates to conduct a search to find an interim leader. The search resulted in six finalists, from which the board chose Verletta White. Shortly after she took the job, the board's ethics review panel found she had violated financial disclosure rules and "used the prestige of her office or public position for private gain" by accepting compensation from ERDI.

Indeed, superintendent search firms frequently fail to find conflicts of interest and other problems in the candidate background checks they conduct. And some of these firms operate side businesses that also lead to conflict of interest issues.

A Revolving Door of Business Deals Funded by Taxpayers

One of the largest superintendent search firms in the United States, Schaumburg, Illinois-based Hazard, Young, and Attea (HYA), is part of the ECRA Group , a consulting firm providing an array of services to schools.

ECRA claims to have worked with over 1,000 districts, but a close examination of how the company worked with a number of school districts in Illinois reveals how the firm uses a revolving-door business model in which its search service rotates administrators into and out of leadership positions while the company uses those leadership connections to successfully upsell districts into expensive long-term consulting contracts funded by taxpayers.

ECRA's business relationships with Oak Park Elementary District 97 in Illinois go back to at least 2010 when it was hired to help replace outgoing superintendent Constance Collins. With HYA's help , the district hired Albert Roberts. In 2013, during Roberts' tenure, school board minutes show the district considered a plan to hire ECRA to analyze the district's achievement data at a cost of $74,000 a year. The following year, the district hired ECRA to produce an analysis of the achievement gap between white and nonwhite students in the district. Board minutes from 2015 show the district continuing to work with ECRA.

When Roberts retired, District 97 used HYA again for a superintendent search that resulted in hiring Carol Kelley. Kelley currently appears in ECRA's marketing literature touting the firm's Strategic Dashboard, which District 97 apparently employs.

Former superintendent Collins was hired to lead Round Lake District 116, also in Illinois, just before HYA and ECRA acquired the district's superintendent search and strategic planning contracts. Under her tenure, Round Lake paid ECRA $75,918 for consulting services in 2016 , 2017 , and 2018 . Collins retired from Round Lake in 2018, but, according to her LinkedIn page, she became an HYA associate in 2017. She also serves on the advisory board of ECRA, according to her bio at a nonprofit for developing school leaders.

Another Illinois district, Niles Township High School District 219, placed its superintendent on administrative leave after it became known she was the daughter of the president of ECRA, which had a contract with the district worth $149,419 and $120,389 in the final two years of her tenure. (She claimed that relationship with ECRA dated to before she was made superintendent, but she decided to resign anyway.)

Huntley Community School District 158, also in Illinois, had contractual arrangements with ECRA dating to at least 2009 when John Burkey was superintendent. When Burkey resigned in 2017, District 158 hired HYA to find a new superintendent at a cost of $17,500. At the end of a hiring process in which HYA kept all finalists confidential , District 158 announced it had hired Scott Rowe. Under his leadership, District 158 spent $94,980.11 on ECRA in 2018 alone.

One more example in Illinois: Evanston/Skokie School District 65 has hired ECRA for a variety of consulting services since at least 2010 when it paid the firm $22,737.50, according to state records, to survey the district's administrators. By 2013, Evanston/Skokie considered ECRA a "long-standing partner" and hired the firm to help pick its new superintendent. Outgoing superintendent Hardy Murphy also recommended the district hire the firm for teacher appraisal work.

Based on HYA's recommendations , Evanston/Skokie hired Paul Goren in 2014, and under his tenure, checks continued to flow to ECRA's consulting business, including $129,855.92 in 2015 . However, Goren's tenure was troubled and brief, and in 2019 he resigned with a $100,000 severance package. A local reporter noticed that unmentioned in the district's settlement statement was that under his leadership "the district's own progress reports [showed] declines in test scores across all groups of students and district losing ground against its own five-year targets."

ECRA's own leadership has also been embroiled in conflict of interest issues. Current ECRA president Glenn "Max" McGee resigned from his last superintendent job, in Palo Alto, California after an outside investigation found the district had mishandled claims of sexual assault. With a payout of roughly $150,000, McGee, on his way out the door, recommended the district hire HYA to conduct the search for his replacement, just after he had accepted the offer to become leader of ECRA. The district went with McGee's recommendation.

When asked whether this relationship among McGee, ECRA, and the Palo Alto district was a possible conflict of interest, McGee told Our Schools in a phone call that he "stayed out of the search" to fill his old position. Of his replacement, Don Austin from nearby Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District in California, McGee admitted being an acquaintance of "many years."

Who's to Blame?

When controversies arise over superintendents and contracts with outside services, private firms that are responsible for pushing these hiring and outsourcing decisions are quick to blame school board members who signed off on the decisions. And critics of public schools frequently use these scandals to argue that democratically elected school boards are dysfunctional and need to be scrapped for other governance structures.

These criticisms leave a lot of context out.

First, being a school board member is customarily a part-time job paying very little money. And school board members are elected to serve as representatives of parents and voters, not to be experts on school finance and administration.

"School board members, although often well intentioned, are sometimes too unqualified and uninformed to exercise effective oversight of spending, and board members are not aware of the personal relationships and personal interests that may be driving decisions by administrative leaders," Nashville board member Frogge explained.

Also, there are multiple ways superintendents can keep board members in the dark about the inner workings of contractor relationships and district operations.

"From the beginning, Joseph surrounded himself with those who promoted him, including organizations he hired to 'train' the board," Frogge explained. "Joseph also prohibited all district employees from speaking to school board members, which prevented board members from recognizing leadership problems during the early days of his tenure. When board members finally began to confront Joseph about problems, including disturbing financial irregularities and his failure to follow board policy, Joseph lied to board members, exacted retribution from those questioning him, and stirred up controversy to distract from the issues at hand."

That said, Frogge noted school boards have alternatives to using private search firms that promote tainted candidates willing to feed the search firms' side businesses.

"School board members need to become better informed and more savvy about profit motives and organizations that seek to influence their selection," she wrote. "School boards can instead opt to hire a local school boards association (for example, the Tennessee School Boards Association) or a local recruiter with a reputation for personal integrity to conduct a search. They can also choose to hire from within."

How school boards decide to avoid conflicts of interest with school leaders and outside consulting firms is "critical" according to Frogge because decisions that are driven by these insiders "can lead to catastrophic outcomes for students and staff."

Among those negative outcomes are increased community acrimony, wasted education funds, and career debacles for what could perhaps have been promising school leaders.

In the case of Joseph and Nashville, controversies with his leadership decisions strongly divided the city's black community, and taxpayers were stuck with a $261,250 bill for buying out the rest of his contract. As a result of the fallout, Joseph lost his state teaching license, and he vowed never to work in the state again.

In the meantime, HYA continues to win contracts for high-profile superintendent searches, and ERDI's conferences bringing school leaders and vendors together continue to sell out .

[Sep 17, 2019] How Elizabeth Warren Became the Democratic Party Establishment's Insurance Policy by Danny Haiphong

Notable quotes:
"... This is no coincidence. The DNC elite, a who's who of Wall Street donors and "party insiders," have chosen Elizabeth Warren as the safest insurance policy to Joe Biden. Warren has positioned herself as the safer version of progressivism in contradistinction to Bernie Sanders' full-fledged New Deal politics. ..."
"... In recent weeks, Elizabeth Warren has been putting smiles on the faces of the Democratic Party establishment. Her performance at the DNC's summer fundraiser in San Francisco in late August received widespread positive coverage from the corporate media. The New York Times , for example, reported that Warren has been sending private messages to Democratic Party insiders to let them know that she is more interested in leading a "revival" of the Democratic Party rather than a revolution. ..."
"... In other words, Elizabeth Warren is saying and doing all the right things to position herself as the DNC's choice for the presidential nomination should the Biden campaign continue to falter. ..."
"... The DNC is looking for a candidate who will oppose Trump but support the neoliberal and foreign policy consensus that exists in Washington. At first, Warren's mimicry of Bernie Sanders' talking points raised a few eyebrows on Wall Street. While some of those eyebrows remain raised, the DNC clearly prefers Warren's "revival" over Sanders' "political revolution." ..."
Sep 17, 2019 | ahtribune.com

From forgetting former President Barack Obama's name to having your wife ask voters to "swallow a little bit" of his pro-corporate positions on healthcare, the oligarchs in control of the two-party political system in the United States are well aware of Biden's struggles . According to the Washington Times , Biden is losing the support from the corporate media. The editorial cited a study from Axios which concluded that of 100 media stories about the Biden campaign that received the most attention on social media, 77 were negative in character. While Biden consistently leads in the polls, the DNC elite has gone fishing for of an insurance policy for Biden's flailing campaign.

Enter Elizabeth Warren. At first, the Massachusetts Senator seemed like a dark horse in the race and a mere thorn in the side of Bernie Sanders. Kamala Harris appeared to be the early DNC favorite and her campaign has worked overtime to show its commitment to a neoliberal economic and political agenda. However, Harris was stymied by Hawaiian Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard's thirty second run down of her record as Defense Attorney and Attorney General for the state of California during the second Democratic Party primary debate. Ever since, Harris has seen her stock decline mightily in the polls while Elizabeth Warren's polling numbers have increased dramatically.

This is no coincidence. The DNC elite, a who's who of Wall Street donors and "party insiders," have chosen Elizabeth Warren as the safest insurance policy to Joe Biden. Warren has positioned herself as the safer version of progressivism in contradistinction to Bernie Sanders' full-fledged New Deal politics. As far back as late February of 2019, Warren was deriding corporate "special interests" while signaling that she would not succumb to "unilateral disarmament" in a general election against Trump by forgoing corporate donations.

The progressivism of Elizabeth Warren was thus a malleable project with a history of inconsistency, as evidenced by her constant flip-flopping on issues such as the privatization of education in Massachusetts.

In recent weeks, Elizabeth Warren has been putting smiles on the faces of the Democratic Party establishment. Her performance at the DNC's summer fundraiser in San Francisco in late August received widespread positive coverage from the corporate media. The New York Times , for example, reported that Warren has been sending private messages to Democratic Party insiders to let them know that she is more interested in leading a "revival" of the Democratic Party rather than a revolution.

An article in The Atlantic provided snippet remarks from people like Don Fowler, described in the piece as a former DNC-chair and "long-time Clinton-family loyalist," who called Warren "smart as shit" for her inside-out approach to her political campaign. A more recent editorial in The New York Times offered a glimpse into Warren's former big donor connections from her 2018 Senate campaign. According to the Times , Warren was able to transfer 10.4 million USD to her presidential campaign effort in part because of the generosity of the very same corporate elite that she now condemns as holding too much influence over the Democratic Party. NBC News further revealed that Elizabeth Warren has an open line of communication with the much maligned but infamous Democratic Party establishment leader, Hillary Clinton.

In other words, Elizabeth Warren is saying and doing all the right things to position herself as the DNC's choice for the presidential nomination should the Biden campaign continue to falter.

Donald Trump is guaranteed the nomination for the Republican Party ticket after taking over the party in 2016 from defunct establishment figures such as Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Ted Cruz.

The DNC is looking for a candidate who will oppose Trump but support the neoliberal and foreign policy consensus that exists in Washington. At first, Warren's mimicry of Bernie Sanders' talking points raised a few eyebrows on Wall Street. While some of those eyebrows remain raised, the DNC clearly prefers Warren's "revival" over Sanders' "political revolution."

MORE...

That's because Warren's campaign to "revive" the Democratic Party is bereft of political principle. Whatever Sanders' political limitations as a "left" alternative to the establishment, the Vermont Senator is by far more progressive than Warren. Warren voted for the Trump Administration's recent military budget in 2017 even after tens of billions of dollars were added by Congress to the original proposal. During Israel's 2014 massacre of the Palestinians in Operation Protective Edge, Warren claimed Israel had a right to defend itself. Bernie Sanders offers a clear proposal for Medicare for All already drafted in the Senate, while Elizabeth Warren believes that Medicare for All can be implemented in "many different ways." In CNN's Climate Town Hall, Warren opposed public control of utilities while Sanders supported it. A deeper look at Elizabeth Warren reveals that she is more aligned with the establishment than she wants the public to believe.

All of this is to say that the DNC is looking for the best-case scenario for its corporate masters, which is the worst-case scenario for working people in the United States. The principle goal of the DNC is to stop Bernie Sanders from getting anywhere near the nomination. Prior to Warren becoming insurance policy for Joe Biden, the DNC hoped that the Massachusetts Senator would split supporters of Bernie Sanders down the middle. This would lead either to a clear path to the nomination for a handpicked candidate (Biden, Harris, fill in the blank) or to a contested convention where the unelected but very wealthy "superdelegates" would cast the deciding vote. Should Warren have turned out a lame duck, the DNC could still rely on over a dozen candidates with careerist ambitions to force a contested election at the DNC convention in Milwaukee.

Workers in the United States have no insurance policy when it comes to the 2020 presidential election or any other election for that matter. Austerity, privatization, and super exploitation is the law of the capitalist land in the USA. Sanders is attractive to many workers in the U.S. because of his consistent articulation of an anti-austerity platform which includes living wage employment, a Green New Deal to help provide that employment, and a solid commitment to Medicare for All. But Sanders remains deeply loyal to the Democratic Party and has stated firmly on several occasions on the campaign trail that he would support any Democratic Party candidate should he lose the nomination. Sanders frames Donald Trump as the most dangerous element in U.S. society even as his own party colludes to prevent him from having a fair shot at the nomination. Sanders and his supporters must realize that Elizabeth Warren is not a friend, but an opportunist who is more than willing to profit from their demise. The best-case scenario for the working class is that wall to wall resistance to Sanders will lead to a mass exodus from the party and open the door for an independent worker's party to form amid the collapse of the DNC.

*(Top image: U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren speaking with attendees at the 2019 National Forum on Wages and Working People hosted by the Center for the American Progress Action Fund and the SEIU at the Enclave in Las Vegas, Nevada. Credit: Gage Skidmore/ flickr ) Danny Haiphong is the co-author of the book American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People's History of Fake News-From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror .

[Sep 17, 2019] In New York, Senator Elizabeth Warren described a government compromised by the influence of the wealthy. President Trump, in New Mexico, denounced a "failed [neo]liberal establishment.

Notable quotes:
"... Ms. Warren described Washington as utterly compromised by the influence of corporations and the extremely wealthy, and laid out a detailed plan for cleansing it. ..."
"... "Corruption has put our planet at risk, corruption has broken our economy and corruption is breaking our democracy," Ms. Warren said Monday evening. "I know what's broken, I've got a plan to fix it and that's why I'm running for president of the United States." ..."
"... Their version of populism, which Mr. Sanders pioneered but did not bring to fruition when he challenged Hillary Clinton in 2016, is about attacking concentrated wealth and economic power and breaking its influence over government. Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders, effectively tied for second place in their party's primary, both describe the country's political institutions as rotten and vow to make vast changes to the economy ..."
Sep 17, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs, September 17, 2019 at 09:47 AM

Warren and Trump Speeches Attack Corruption, but Two Different Kinds https://nyti.ms/2IaKMVQ

NYT - Alexander Burns - September 17

In New York, Senator Elizabeth Warren described a government compromised by the influence of the wealthy. President Trump, in New Mexico, denounced a "failed liberal establishment."

Senator Elizabeth Warren stood beneath a marble arch in New York City, telling a crowd of thousands that she would lead a movement to purge the government of corruption. Not far from the site of a historic industrial disaster, Ms. Warren described Washington as utterly compromised by the influence of corporations and the extremely wealthy, and laid out a detailed plan for cleansing it.

"Corruption has put our planet at risk, corruption has broken our economy and corruption is breaking our democracy," Ms. Warren said Monday evening. "I know what's broken, I've got a plan to fix it and that's why I'm running for president of the United States."

Only a few hours later, on a stage outside Albuquerque, President Trump took aim at a different phenomenon that he also described as corruption. Before his own roaring crowd, Mr. Trump cast himself as a bulwark against the power not of corporations but of a "failed liberal establishment" that he described as attacking the country's sovereignty and cultural heritage.

"We're battling against the corrupt establishment of the past," Mr. Trump said, warning in grim language: "They want to erase American history, crush religious liberty, indoctrinate our students with left-wing ideology."

The two back-to-back addresses laid out the competing versions of populism that could come to define the presidential campaign. From the right, there is the strain Mr. Trump brought to maturity in 2016, combining the longstanding grievances of the white working class with a newer, darker angst about immigration and cultural change. And on the left, there is a vastly different populist wave still gaining strength, defined in economic terms by Ms. Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

The messages underlined the possibility that the 2020 election could be the first in a generation to be fought without an ally of either party's centrist establishment on the ballot. While it is by no means certain that Ms. Warren will emerge as the Democratic nominee, two of her party's top three candidates -- Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders -- are trumpeting themes of economic inequality and promises of sweeping political and social reform.

Their version of populism, which Mr. Sanders pioneered but did not bring to fruition when he challenged Hillary Clinton in 2016, is about attacking concentrated wealth and economic power and breaking its influence over government. Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders, effectively tied for second place in their party's primary, both describe the country's political institutions as rotten and vow to make vast changes to the economy . ...


[Sep 17, 2019] Warren scoops an important endorsement from The New York Times:

Sep 17, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

EMichael , September 16, 2019 at 10:28 AM

Let's hope the Sanders campaign does not play this card.

"Senator Professor Warren continues to play error-free baseball in this here presidential campaign. Not only does she schedule a certified Big Speech in Washington Square Park in New York on Monday night to talk about the contributions of women to the labor movement not far from the site of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, but also, in the afternoon, she scoops an important endorsement across town. From The New York Times:

'The party endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont during the last presidential cycle, at which time he described Working Families as "the closest thing" to "my vision of democratic socialism." The group's endorsement of Ms. Warren on Monday, one of the few by a prominent progressive organization this early in the primary, is sure to turn heads among left-leaning Democrats who are desperate to defeat the current front-runner, Mr. Biden, in a primary election where their party's ideological future is at stake.

Mr. Mitchell brushed off the possibility that the group's endorsement would be seen as a sign of a splintering of the progressive left. The vote among "tens of thousands" of party members resulted in a commanding majority for Ms. Warren, a party spokesman said; she received more than 60 percent of the votes on the first ballot.'

The Sanders camp is already raising holy hell. They will now position SPW as a tool of her corporate masters. (That's been going on for a while now among some of the more enthusiastic adherents of the Sanders campaign. My guess is that it will become more general now.) The WFP endorsement is an important and clarifying one. If there is a liberal lane, there's some daylight open now."

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a29071011/elizabeth-warren-working-families-party-endorsement/

[Sep 17, 2019] Warren calls the reforms she envisions to corporate mandates and governance "accountable capitalism."

Notable quotes:
"... I do like the author's take on the importance of corporations' fiduciary responsibility to shareholders, though. There WAS a time when a company's first priority was customer satisfaction. The moment they became corporations, however, customers went out the window in favor of the shareholders. ..."
Sep 17, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Go to the section of Warren's website entitled "Plans" and at the time of this writing you'll have a choice between a staggering 43 links. Many of the plans could hugely impact our economy, but one stands above the rest in its potential to overhaul our commercia landscape. Warren calls the reforms she envisions to corporate mandates and governance "accountable capitalism."

Corporations sometimes do bad things, and Warren's plan might stop some of them.

So just what is accountable capitalism? It was originally a bill proposed by Senator Warren last year. In a fawning write-up in Vox , Matthew Yglesias inadvertently exposed the idea's flimsy intellectual foundation:

Warren's plan starts from the premise that corporations that claim the legal rights of personhood should be legally required to accept the moral obligations of personhood.

... ... ...

Warren's plan requires corporations valued at over $1 billion to obtain a special federal charter. This charter exposes corporations to regulation from a new Office of United States Corporations that "tells company directors to consider the interests of all relevant stakeholders -- shareholders, but also employees, customers, and the community within which the company operates -- when making decisions."

... ... ...

Warren has spent much of her career crusading against the harmful and unjust cozy relationships between Wall Street and government, often to her credit. It's curious that someone with such expertise in the matter doesn't seem at all concerned that this new "accountability" would multiply the number of meetings, phone calls, and emails between senior regulators and the titans of the private sector.

These billion-dollar corporations already employ armies of lawyers and accountants to navigate regulatory minefields and turn them into weapons against their smaller competitors. Does Warren believe this practice will stop overnight?

If most rent-seeking were a matter of nefarious corporate executives buying off weak or greedy officials, we could just elect better people. The fact that this problem persists over decades is indicative of a more subtle process. Rent-seeking is an inevitable systemic feature in a network with thousands of contact points between business and government.


Itchy and Scratchy , 25 minutes ago link

She had her chance in the '08 credit crash when she took on Wall Street & The Banksters!

She ended up filling the Banksters & 1%'ers pockets with billions of Tarp funds some of which were donated to her campaign while enacting competition killing Dodd Frank compliance laws! No one was ever charged or convicted for the $9Trillion debacle!

Nice work Princess Squatting Bull!

JustPastPeacefield , 29 minutes ago link

Last time around we had the Bernie Bro. Introducing the Lizzie Lez.

Get used to it. She's the nominee. Even the corrupt DNC knows Biden is halfway to senile. She's got the mojo this time around.

fightapathy , 50 minutes ago link

I recall Barry the magical ***** had similar plans that disappeared the moment of his coronation/deification. Campaign plans are like that: fictional lies that vanish like magic.

I do like the author's take on the importance of corporations' fiduciary responsibility to shareholders, though. There WAS a time when a company's first priority was customer satisfaction. The moment they became corporations, however, customers went out the window in favor of the shareholders.

These days, thanks to algos, things like revenue and performance don't even seem to matter to stock valuation anymore, only buybacks and options seem to keep prices up.

mabuhay1 , 51 minutes ago link

The problem of corporation lack of empathy is not caused by capitalism, it is caused by the lack of moral values of the people running the corporation. What is needed is a moral framework within which to raise our young... Religion? Yes! correct answer.

NYC80 , 56 minutes ago link

I think the author is too generous with Warren's intentions. She pretends she cares, and this is her misguided effort to "help". I don't think that's true.

Look at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It, too, sounds like it's about "helping" people. Warren proposed the whole thing, and wrote much of the legislation.

Its real purpose, if you look at its actions (which, I remind you, speak louder than words) is to extort money from large companies in order to fund left-wing activist groups. In nearly all its settlements, the CFPB offers companies the option to "donate" money to these third-party groups in lieu of larger fines and penalties. They've diverted billions of dollars to activist groups. Controlling the money allows them to control the groups, and these groups can exert all kinds of pressure, usually in ways that would be illegal, if done directly by the government.

It's the equivalent of having the government fund paramilitary groups or third party propaganda.

Warren would establish this new "Office of United States Corporations" to extort even more money, diverted to third parties to use to destroy people, companies, and anything else she'd like to target but cannot target directly through government because of our pesky Constitution.

She's an aspiring totalitarian dictator, using clever language and 21st century tools. Don't pretend, for a moment, that she's interested in "helping" anyone - she'd happily kill as many people as Hitler or Stalin ever did, if she had the chance.

[Sep 17, 2019] Elizabeth Warren releases sweeping anti-corruption plan

Sep 17, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs , September 16, 2019 at 08:22 AM

Elizabeth Warren releases sweeping anti-corruption plan
https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2019/09/16/elizabeth-warren-releases-sweeping-anti-corruption-plan-central-her-campaign/SXm5u4AadbvrKDcXfJPEHI/story.html?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe

Steve Peoples and Will Weissert - AP - September 16

NEW YORK -- Elizabeth Warren has released a sweeping anti-government corruption proposal, providing a detailed policy roadmap for a fight she says is at the core of her presidential campaign.

( https://elizabethwarren.com/plans/end-washington-corruption )

The Democratic senator from Massachusetts is announcing the plan Monday in Manhattan's Washington Square Park, near the site of the Triangle Shirtwaist Co., which caught fire in 1911, killing 140-plus workers. Many of those deaths later were attributed to neglected safety features, such as doors that were locked inside the factory.

Warren's plan would ban lobbyists from many fundraising activities and serving as political campaign bundlers, tighten limits on politicians accepting gifts or payment for government actions and bar senior officials and members of Congress from serving on nonprofit boards. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , September 16, 2019 at 08:29 AM
Elizabeth Warren says she has
a plan for that. Here's a running list
https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2019/07/11/elizabeth-warren-says-she-has-plan-for-that-here-running-list/EHsPJR7JCSs3tBYe7sXxEN/story.html?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe

Christina Prignano - September 16

Senator Elizabeth Warren is blitzing the 2020 Democratic primary field with a series of ambitious policy proposals covering everything from student loans to the use of federal lands.

Her proposals have become a signature part of her campaign, solidifying her reputation as a policy wonk and spurring a new campaign slogan: "I have a plan for that."

Big Tech breakup
Child care
Clean energy
Criminal justice
Economic patriotism
Electoral college
Farmers
Filibuster
Green energy
Gun control
Higher education
Housing
Immigration
Minority entrepreneurship
Native American issues
Opioids
Pentagon ethics
Public lands
Puerto Rico
Racial wage disparities
Reparations
Roe v. Wade
Rural communities
State Department
Tax plans
Trade
Voting rights
Wall Street regulation

(more detail at the link)

im1dc -> Fred C. Dobbs... , September 16, 2019 at 05:10 PM
S. Warren proposal is AWESOME and NEEDED

Here's another journalist take on it...

https://www.thedailybeast.com/maryanne-trump-barry-elizabeth-warren-goes-after-president-trumps-sister-as-part-of-anti-corruption-plan

"Warren Goes After Trump's Sister in Anti-Corruption Push"

"The Massachusetts Democrat, who had already introduced a massive anti-corruption bill, is adding some new aspects to her plan"

by Gideon Resnick, Political Reporter...09.16.19 12:06PM ET

[Sep 17, 2019] The roots of the criminogenic environment go much deeper. Where was the DOJ in the prosecution of the massive banking fraud that led to the great financial crisis ? Busy prosecuting poor people while the big fish criminals were rescued by the corrupt institutions.

Clintonism was the introduction of mafia style in the US justice system and conversion of the key law enforcement agency -- FBI -- in mafia style organization.
Sep 17, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Mr. Bill , September 15, 2019 at 06:14 PM

Re: Krugman's article on the death of American Democracy he asserts: " In less than three years it has been transformed from an agency that tries to enforce the law to an organization dedicated to punishing Trump's opponents."

I think that I agree with Bill Black that the roots of the criminogenic environment go much deeper. Where was the DOJ in the prosecution of the massive banking fraud that led to the great financial crisis ? Busy prosecuting poor people while the big fish criminals were rescued by the corrupt institutions. I agree that Democracy dies when the institutions become corrupt and the beneficiaries of the same corrupt institutions become smugly comfortable in control of the narrative.

A troubling article by the New Yorker, "Clarence Thomas's Radical Vision of Race",

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/essay/clarence-thomass-radical-vision-of-race

Points to a real world example: The profound corruption of the conservative SCOTUS that led to Citizens United. The angst of the entitled bemoaning their good fortune, like spoiled children.

[Sep 15, 2019] TuckerCalson: Elizabeth Warren wrote one of the best books I've ever read on economics (The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents Are Going Broke)

Notable quotes:
"... By that point, he'd already warned his audience about the perils of "monopoly power" and declared that income inequality, which the right had long been trained to believe is "just a pure invention of some diabolical French intellectual to destroy America," is actually "completely real" and "totally bad." ..."
"... The reimagining is playing out not just on Carlson's show or in conservative journals, but among a small batch of young, ambitious Republicans in Congress led by senators Josh Hawley of Missouri and Marco Rubio of Florida. ..."
"... Their populist -- or "nationalist" or "post-liberal" -- prescriptions sometimes smack of opportunism. And it's still not clear how far they're willing to stray from their party. But it looks like there are places where the new nationalists could find common cause with an energized left. ..."
"... And one of the speakers, University of Pennsylvania law professor Amy Wax, seemed to do just that -- suggesting that "cultural compatibility" should play a role in deciding which migrants are allowed into the country. "In effect," she said, this "means taking the position that our country will be better off with more whites and fewer nonwhites." But Wax's speech, however discomfiting, stood out because it was so discordant. Conference organizers took pains to prevent hate-mongers from attending -- ultimately rejecting six applicants. ... "Your ideas," he said, "are not welcome here." ... ..."
Sep 06, 2019 | www.bostonglobe.com

David Scharfenberg - September 6

...But he also spoke, in admiring tones and at substantial length, about "The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents Are Going Broke," the book Warren wrote with her daughter in 2004.

"Elizabeth Warren wrote one of the best books I've ever read on economics," he said.

(The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents Are Going Broke
https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/The-Two-Income-Trap%3A-Why-Middle-Class-Parents-Are-Tyagi-Warren/9e71e947ba3ba9f8a993eb39699b9d9baacff235 )

By that point, he'd already warned his audience about the perils of "monopoly power" and declared that income inequality, which the right had long been trained to believe is "just a pure invention of some diabolical French intellectual to destroy America," is actually "completely real" and "totally bad."

His Bolshevist pronouncements were probably not a surprise to anyone who'd watched Carlson's show closely in the months leading up to his speech. But Fox, despite its outsize influence, has a relatively small audience.

And it's not just Carlson's evolution that's escaped notice. It's hard to keep track of what most of the key players on the right are saying these days, with President Trump soaking up so much attention.

But while the commander-in-chief thrashes about, something important is taking shape in his shadow -- the outlines of a new conservatism inspired, or at least elevated, by his rise to power.

It's a conservatism that tries to wrestle with the post-Cold War, post-industrial angst that fired his election -- dropping a reflexive fealty to big business that dates back to the Reagan era and focusing more intently on the struggles of everyday Americans.

"There are many downsides, I will say, to Trump," Carlson said, in his speech this summer. "But one of the upsides is, the Trump election was so shocking, so unlikely ... that it did cause some significant percentage of people to say, 'wait a second, if that can happen, what else is true?' "

The reimagining is playing out not just on Carlson's show or in conservative journals, but among a small batch of young, ambitious Republicans in Congress led by senators Josh Hawley of Missouri and Marco Rubio of Florida.

Their populist -- or "nationalist" or "post-liberal" -- prescriptions sometimes smack of opportunism. And it's still not clear how far they're willing to stray from their party. But it looks like there are places where the new nationalists could find common cause with an energized left.

Whether the two sides can actually forge a meaningful alliance in the glare of our hyperpartisan politics is an open question. But a compact -- even a provisional one -- may offer the country its best shot at building a meaningful, post-Trump politics.

. . .

CARLSON DELIVERED HIS speech at the National Conservatism Conference -- the first major gathering aimed at forging a new, right-of-center approach in the age of Trump.

"This is our independence day," said Yoram Hazony, an Israeli political theorist and chief organizer of the event, in his spirited opening remarks. "We declare independence from neoconservatism, from libertarianism, from what they call classical liberalism." "We are national conservatives," he said. Any effort to build a right-of-center nationalism circa 2019 inevitably runs into questions about whether it will traffic in bigotry.

And one of the speakers, University of Pennsylvania law professor Amy Wax, seemed to do just that -- suggesting that "cultural compatibility" should play a role in deciding which migrants are allowed into the country. "In effect," she said, this "means taking the position that our country will be better off with more whites and fewer nonwhites." But Wax's speech, however discomfiting, stood out because it was so discordant. Conference organizers took pains to prevent hate-mongers from attending -- ultimately rejecting six applicants. ... "Your ideas," he said, "are not welcome here." ...

* At the National Conservatism Conference, an 'Intellectual Trumpist' Movement Begins to Take Shape

https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/07/national-conservatism-conference-intellectual-trumpist-movement/

Reply Sunday, September 15, 2019 at 06:59 AM

[Sep 15, 2019] Demythologizing the Roots of the New Cold War by Ted Snider

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Like the Cold War, the new cold war was triggered by an American lie. It was a lie so duplicitous, so all encompassing, that it would lead many Russians to see the agreement that ended the cold war as a devastating and humiliating deception that was really intended to clear the way for the US to surround and finally defeat the Soviet Union. It was a lie that tilled the soil for all future "Russian aggression." ..."
"... That key promise made to Gorbachev was shattered, first by President Clinton and then subsequently supported by every American President: NATO engulfed Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic in 1999; Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia in 2004, Albania and Croatia in 2009 and, most recently, Montenegro. ..."
"... When Clinton decided to break Bush's promise and betray Russia, George Kennen, father of the containment policy, warned that NATO expansion would be "the most fateful error of American foreign policy in the entire post-cold-war era." "Such a decision," he prophesied, "may be expected to . . . restore the atmosphere of the cold war in East-West relations . . .." ..."
"... As Matlock explains, the urgent transition allowed "privileged insiders[to] join the criminals who had been running a black market [and to] steal what they could, as fast as they could." The sudden, uncompromising transition imposed on Russia by the United States enabled, according to Cohen, "a small group of Kremlin-connected oligarchs to plunder Russia's richest assets and abet the plunging of some two-thirds of its people into poverty and misery." ..."
"... The rape of Russia was funded, overseen and ordered by the United States and handed over by President George H.W. Bush to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Much of their advice, Matlock says generously, "was not only useless, but sometimes actually damaging." ..."
"... The economic policies wrestled onto Russia by the US and the transition experts and international development experts it funded and sent over led to, what Cohen calls, "the near ruination of Russia." Russia's reward for ending the Cold War and joining the Western economic community was, in Cohen's words, "the worst economic depression in peacetime, the disintegration of the highly professionalized Soviet middle class, mass poverty, plunging life expectancy [for men, it had fallen below sixty], the fostering of an oligarchic financial elite, the plundering of Russia's wealth, and more." ..."
"... By the time Putin came to power in 2000, Cohen says, "some 75% of Russians were living in poverty." 75%! Millions and millions of Russian lives were destroyed by the American welcoming of Russia into the global economic community. ..."
"... But before Putin came to power, there was more Boris Yeltsin. Yeltsin was a necessity for Clinton and the United States because Yeltsin was the pliable puppet who would continue to enforce the cruel economic transition. But to continue the interference in, and betrayal of, the Russian people economically, it would now be necessary to interfere in and betray the Russian democracy. ..."
"... Intoxicated with American support, Yeltsin dissolved the parliament that had rescinded his powers and abolished the constitution of which he was in violation. In a 636-2 vote, the Russian parliament impeached Yeltsin. But, President Clinton again sided with Yeltsin against the Russian people and the Russian law, backed him and gave him $2.5 billion in aid. Clinton was blocking the Russian people's choice of leaders. ..."
"... "Funded by the US government," Cohen reports, Americans "gave money to favored Russian politicians, instructed ministers, drafted legislation and presidential decrees, underwrote textbooks, and served at Yeltsin's reelection headquarters in 1996." ..."
"... Asserting its right as the unipolar victor of a Cold War it never won, betraying the central promise of the negotiated end of the cold war by engulfing Russia's neighbors, arming those nations against its written and signed word and stealing all Russian hope in capitalism and democracy by kidnapping and torturing Russian capitalism and democracy, the roots of the new cold war were not planted by Russian lies and aggression, as the doctrinal Western version teaches, but by the American lies and aggression that the fact checked, demythologized version of history reveals. ..."
Sep 09, 2019 | original.antiwar.com

When Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev received his peace prize in 1990, the Nobel Prize committee declared that "the two mighty power blocs, have managed to abandon their life-threatening confrontation" and confidently expressed that "It is our hope that we are now celebrating the end of the Cold War." Recently, U.N. General Secretary António Guterres funereally closed the celebrations with the realization that "The Cold War is back."

In a very short span of history, the window that had finally opened for Russia and the United States to build a new international system in which they work cooperatively to address areas of common interest had slammed back closed. How was that historic opportunity wasted? Why was the road from the Nobel committee's hope to the UN's eulogy such a short one?

The doctrinal narrative that is told in the U.S. is the narrative of a very short road whose every turn was signposted by Russian lies, betrayal, deception and aggression. The American telling of history is a tale in which every blow to the new peace was a Russian blow. The fact checked version offers a demythologized history that is unrecognizably different. The demythologized version is also a history of lies, betrayal, deception and aggression, but the liar, the aggressor, is not primarily Russia, but America. It is the history of a promise so historically broken that it laid the foundation of a new cold war.

But it was not the first promise the United States broke: it was not even the first promise they broke in the new cold war.

The Hot War

Most histories of the cold war begin at the dawn of the post World War II period. But the history of U.S-U.S.S.R. animosity starts long before that: it starts as soon as possible, and it was hot long before it turned cold.

The label "Red Scare" first appeared, not in the 1940s or 50s, but in 1919. Though it is a chapter seldom included in the history of American-Russian relations, America actively and aggressively intervened in the Russian civil war in an attempt to push the Communists back down. The United States cooperated with anti-Bolshevik forces: by mid 1918, President Woodrow Wilson had sent 13,000 American troops to Soviet soil. They would remain there for two years, killing and injuring thousands. Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev would later remind America of "the time you sent your troops to quell the revolution." Churchill would record for history the admission that the West "shot Soviet Russians on sight," that they were "invaders on Russian soil," that "[t]hey armed the enemies of the Soviet government," that "[t]hey blockaded its ports, and sunk its battleships. They earnestly desired and schemed for its downfall."

When the cause was lost, and the Bolsheviks secured power, most western countries refused to recognize the communist government. However, realism prevailed, and within a few short years, by the mid 1920s, most countries had recognized the communist government and restored diplomatic relations. All but the US It was not until several years later that Franklin D. Roosevelt finally recognized the Soviet government in 1933.

The Cold War

It would be a very short time before the diplomatic relations that followed the hot war would be followed by a cold war. It might even be possible to pin the beginning of the cold war down to a specific date. On April 22 and 23, President Truman told Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov to "Carry out his agreement" and establish a new, free, independent government in Poland as promised at Yalta. Molotov was stunned. He was stunned because it was not he that was breaking the agreement because that was not what Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin had agreed to at Yalta. The final wording of the Yalta agreement never mentioned replacing Soviet control of Poland.

The agreement that Roosevelt revealed to congress and shared with the world – the one that still dominates the textbook accounts and the media stories – is not the one he secretly shook on with Stalin. Roosevelt lied to congress and the American people. Then he lied to Stalin.

In exchange for Soviet support for the creation of the United Nations, Roosevelt secretly agreed to Soviet predominance in Poland and Eastern Europe. The cold war story that the Soviet Union marched into Eastern Europe and stole it for itself is a lie: Roosevelt handed it to them.

So did Churchill. If Roosevelt's motivation was getting the UN, Churchill's was getting Greece. Fearing that the Soviet Union would invade India and the oil fields of Iran, Churchill saw Greece as the geographical roadblock and determined to hold on to it at all cost. The cost, it turned out, was Romania. Churchill would give Stalin Romania to protect his borders; Stalin would give Churchill Greece to protect his empire's borders. The deal was sealed on October 9, 1944.

Churchill says that in their secret meeting, he asked Stalin, "how would it do for you to have ninety percent predominance in Romania, for us to have ninety percent predominance in Greece? . . ." He then went on to offer a fifty-fifty power split in in Yugoslavia and Hungary and to offer the Soviets seventy-five percent control of Bulgaria. The exact conversation may never have happened, according to the political record, but Churchill's account captures the spirit and certainly captures the secret agreement.

Contrary to the official narrative, Stalin never betrayed the west and stole Eastern Europe: Poland, Romania and the rest were given to him in secret. Then Roosevelt lied to congress and to the world.

That American lie raised the curtain on the cold war.

The New Cold War

Like the Cold War, the new cold war was triggered by an American lie. It was a lie so duplicitous, so all encompassing, that it would lead many Russians to see the agreement that ended the cold war as a devastating and humiliating deception that was really intended to clear the way for the US to surround and finally defeat the Soviet Union. It was a lie that tilled the soil for all future "Russian aggression."

At the close of the cold war, at a meeting held on February 9, 1990, George H.W. Bush's Secretary of State, James Baker, promised Gorbachev that if NATO got Germany and Russia pulled its troops out of East Germany, NATO would not expand east of Germany and engulf the former Soviet states. Gorbachev records in his memoirs that he agreed to Baker's terms "with the guarantee that NATO jurisdiction or troops would not extend east of the current line." In Super-power Illusions , Jack F. Matlock Jr., who was the American ambassador to Russia at the time and was present at the meeting, confirms Gorbachev's account, saying that it "coincides with my notes of the conversation except that mine indicate that Baker added "not one inch." Matlock adds that Gorbachev was assured that NATO would not move into Eastern Europe as the Warsaw Pact moved out, that "the understanding at Malta [was] that the United States would not 'take advantage' of a Soviet military withdrawal from Eastern Europe." At the February 9 meeting, Baker assured Gorbachev that "neither the President or I intend to extract any unilateral advantages from the processes that are taking place."

But the promise was not made just once, and it was not made just by the United States. The promise was made on two consecutive days: first by the Americans and then by West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. According to West German foreign ministry documents, on February 10, 1990, the day after James Baker's promise, West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher told his Soviet counterpart Eduard Shevardnadze "'For us . . . one thing is certain: NATO will not expand to the east.' And because the conversation revolved mainly around East Germany, Genscher added explicitly: 'As far as the non-expansion of NATO is concerned, this also applies in general.'"

A few days earlier, on January 31, 1990, Genscher had said in a major speech that there would not be "an expansion of NATO territory to the east, in other words, closer to the borders of the Soviet Union."

Gorbachev says the promise was made not to expand NATO "as much as a thumb's width further to the east." Putin also says mourns the broken promise, asking at a conference in Munich in February 2007, "What happened to the assurances our Western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact? Where are those declarations today? No one even remembers them."

Putin went on to remind his audience of the assurances by pointing out that the existence of the NATO promise is not just the perception of him and Gorbachev. It was also the view of the NATO General Secretary at the time: "But I will allow myself to remind this audience what was said. I would like to quote the speech of NATO General Secretary Mr. [Manfred] Woerner in Brussels on 17 May 1990. He said at the time that: 'The fact that we are ready not to place a NATO army outside of German territory gives the Soviet Union a firm security guarantee.' Where are those guarantees?"

Recent scholarship supports the Russian version of the story. Russian expert and Professor of Russian and European Politics at the University of Kent, Richard Sakwa says that "[r]ecent studies demonstrate that the commitment not to enlarge NATO covered the whole former Soviet bloc and not just East Germany." And Stephen Cohen, Professor Emeritus of Politics at Princeton University and of Russian Studies and History at New York University, adds that the National Security Archive has now published the actual documents detailing what Gorbachev was promised. Published on December 12, 2017, the documents finally, and authoritatively, reveal that "The truth, and the promises broken, are much more expansive than previously known: all of the Western powers involved – the US, the UK, France, Germany itself – made the same promise to Gorbachev on multiple occasions and in various emphatic ways."

That key promise made to Gorbachev was shattered, first by President Clinton and then subsequently supported by every American President: NATO engulfed Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic in 1999; Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia in 2004, Albania and Croatia in 2009 and, most recently, Montenegro.

It was this shattered promise, this primal betrayal, this NATO expansion to Russia's borders that created the conditions and causes of future conflicts and aggressions. When, in 2008, NATO promised Georgia and Ukraine eventual membership, Russia saw the threat of NATO encroaching right to its borders. It is in Georgia and Ukraine that Russia felt it had to draw the line with NATO encroachment into its core sphere of influence. Sakwa says that the war in Georgia was "the first war to stop NATO enlargement; Ukraine was the second." What are often cited as acts of Russian aggression that helped maintain the new cold war are properly understood as acts of Russian defense against US aggression that made a lie out of the promise that ended the Cold War.

When Clinton decided to break Bush's promise and betray Russia, George Kennen, father of the containment policy, warned that NATO expansion would be "the most fateful error of American foreign policy in the entire post-cold-war era." "Such a decision," he prophesied, "may be expected to . . . restore the atmosphere of the cold war in East-West relations . . .."

The broken promise restored the cold war. Though it is the most significant root of the new cold war, it was not the first. There was a prior broken promise, and this time the man who betrayed Russia was President H.W. Bush.

The end of the Cold War resulted from negotiations and not from any sort of military victory. Stephen Cohen says that "Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush negotiated with the last Soviet Russian leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, what they said was the end of the Cold War on the shared, expressed premise that it was ending 'with no losers, only winners.'"

The end of the Cold War and the end of the Soviet Union occurred so closely chronologically that it permitted the American mythologizers to conflate them in the public imagination and create the doctrinal history in which the US defeat of the Soviet Union ended the cold war. But the US did not defeat the Soviet Union. Gorbachev brought about what Sakwa calls a "self-willed disintegration of the Soviet bloc." The Soviet Union came to an end, not by external force or pressure, but out of Gorbachev's recognition of the Soviet Union's own self interest. Matlock flatly states that "pressure from governments outside the Soviet Union, whether from America or Europe or anywhere else, had nothing to do with [the Soviet collapse]." "Cohen demythologizes the history by reinstating the chronological order: Gorbachev negotiated the end of the cold war "well before the disintegration of the Soviet Union." The Cold War officially ended well before the end of the Soviet Union with Gorbachev's December 7, 1988 address to the UN

Matlock says that "Gorbachev is right when he says that we all won the Cold War." He says that President Reagan would write in his notes, "Let there be no talk of winners and losers." When Gorbachev compelled the countries of the Warsaw Pact to adopt reforms like his perestroika in the Soviet Union and warmed them that the Soviet army would no longer be there to keep their communist regimes in power, Matlock points out in Superpower Illusions that "Bush assured Gorbachev that the United States would not claim victory if the Eastern Europeans were allowed to replace the Communist regimes that had been imposed on them." Both the reality and the promise were that there was no winner of the Cold War: it was a negotiated peace that was in the interest of both countries.

When in 1992, during his losing re-election campaign, President Bush arrogantly boasted that "We won the Cold War!" he broke his own promise to Gorbachev and helped plant the roots of the new cold war. "In psychological and political terms," Matlock says, "President Bush planted a landmine under the future U.S.-Russian relationship" when he broke his promise and made that claim.

Bush's broken promise had two significant effects. Psychologically, it created the appearance in the Russian psyche that Gorbachev had been tricked by America: it eroded trust in America and in the new peace. Politically, it created in the American psyche the false idea that Russia was a defeated country whose sphere of interest did not need to be considered. Both these perceptions contributed to the new cold war.

Not only was the broken promise of NATO expansion not the first broken American promise, it was also not the last. In 1997, when President Clinton made the decision to expand NATO much more than an inch to the east, he at least signed the Russia-NATO Founding Act , which explicitly promised that as NATO expanded east, there would be no "permanent stationing of substantial combat forces." This obliterated American promise planted the third root of the new cold war.

Since that third promise, NATO has, in the words of Stephen Cohen, built up its "permanent land, sea and air power near Russian territory, along with missile-defense installations." US and NATO weapons and troops have butted right up against Russia's borders, while anti-missile installations have surrounded it, leading to the feeling of betrayal in Russia and the fear of aggression. Among the earliest moves of the Trump administration were the moving of NATO troops into Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria and nearby Norway.

Mikhail Gorbachev, who offered the West Russia and cooperation in place of the Soviet Union and Cold War, was rewarded with lies, broken promises and betrayal. That was the sowing of the first seeds of the new cold war. The second planting happened during the Yeltsin years that followed. During this stage, the Russian people were betrayed because their hopes for democracy and for an economic system compatible with the West were both destroyed by American intervention.

The goal, Matlock too gently explains, "had to be a shift of the bulk of the economy to private ownership." What transpired was what Naomi Klein called in The Shock Doctrine "one of the greatest crimes committed against a democracy in modern history." The States allowed no gradual transition. Matlock says the "Western experts advised a clean break with the past and a transition to private ownership without delay." But there was no legitimate private capital coming out of the communist system, so there was no private money with which to privatize. So, there was only one place for the money to come. As Matlock explains, the urgent transition allowed "privileged insiders[to] join the criminals who had been running a black market [and to] steal what they could, as fast as they could." The sudden, uncompromising transition imposed on Russia by the United States enabled, according to Cohen, "a small group of Kremlin-connected oligarchs to plunder Russia's richest assets and abet the plunging of some two-thirds of its people into poverty and misery."

The rape of Russia was funded, overseen and ordered by the United States and handed over by President George H.W. Bush to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Much of their advice, Matlock says generously, "was not only useless, but sometimes actually damaging."

Sometimes damaging? In the first year, millions lost their entire life savings. Subsidy cuts meant that many Russians didn't get paid at all. Klein says that by 1992, Russians were consuming 40% less than they were the year before, and one third of them had suddenly sunk below the poverty line. The economic policies wrestled onto Russia by the US and the transition experts and international development experts it funded and sent over led to, what Cohen calls, "the near ruination of Russia." Russia's reward for ending the Cold War and joining the Western economic community was, in Cohen's words, "the worst economic depression in peacetime, the disintegration of the highly professionalized Soviet middle class, mass poverty, plunging life expectancy [for men, it had fallen below sixty], the fostering of an oligarchic financial elite, the plundering of Russia's wealth, and more."

By the time Putin came to power in 2000, Cohen says, "some 75% of Russians were living in poverty." 75%! Millions and millions of Russian lives were destroyed by the American welcoming of Russia into the global economic community.

But before Putin came to power, there was more Boris Yeltsin. Yeltsin was a necessity for Clinton and the United States because Yeltsin was the pliable puppet who would continue to enforce the cruel economic transition. But to continue the interference in, and betrayal of, the Russian people economically, it would now be necessary to interfere in and betray the Russian democracy.

In late 1991, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Boris Yeltsin won a year of special powers from the Russian Parliament: for one year, he was to be, in effect, the dictator of Russia to facilitate the midwifery of the birth of a democratic Russia. In March of 1992, under pressure from the, by now, impoverished, devastated and discontented population, parliament repealed the dictatorial powers it had granted him. Yeltsin responded by declaring a state of emergency, re-bestowing upon himself the repealed dictatorial powers. Russia's Constitutional Court ruled that Yeltsin was acting outside the constitution. But the US sided – against the Russian people and against the Russian Constitutional Court – with Yeltsin.

Intoxicated with American support, Yeltsin dissolved the parliament that had rescinded his powers and abolished the constitution of which he was in violation. In a 636-2 vote, the Russian parliament impeached Yeltsin. But, President Clinton again sided with Yeltsin against the Russian people and the Russian law, backed him and gave him $2.5 billion in aid. Clinton was blocking the Russian people's choice of leaders.

Yeltsin took the money and sent police officers and elite paratroopers to surround the parliament building. Clinton "praised the Russian President has (sic) having done 'quite well' in managing the standoff with the Russian Parliament," as The New York Times reported at the time. Clinton added that he thought "the United States and the free world ought to hang in there" with their support of Yeltsin against his people, their constitution and their courts, and judged Yeltsin to be "on the right side of history."

On the right side of history and armed with machine guns and tanks, in October 1993, Yeltsin's troops opened fire on the crowd of protesters, killing about 100 people before setting the Russian parliament building on fire. By the time the day was over, Yeltsin's troops had killed approximately 500 people and wounded nearly 1,000. Still, Clinton stood with Yeltsin. He provided ludicrous cover for Yeltsin's massacre , claiming that "I don't see that he had any choice . If such a thing happened in the United States, you would have expected me to take tough action against it." Clinton's Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, said that the US supported Yeltsin's suspension of parliament in these "extraordinary times."

In 1996, elections were looming, and America's hegemonic dreams still needed Yeltsin in power. But it wasn't going to happen without help. Yeltsin's popularity was nonexistent, and his approval rating was at about 6%. According to Cohen, Clinton's interference in Russian politics, his "crusade" to "reform Russia," had by now become official policy . And so, America boldly interfered directly in Russian elections . Three American political consultants, receiving "direct assistance from Bill Clinton's White House," secretly ran Yeltsin's reelection campaign. As Time magazine broke the story , "For four months, a group of American political consultants clandestinely participated in guiding Yeltsin's campaign."

"Funded by the US government," Cohen reports, Americans "gave money to favored Russian politicians, instructed ministers, drafted legislation and presidential decrees, underwrote textbooks, and served at Yeltsin's reelection headquarters in 1996."

More incriminating still is that Richard Dresner, one of the three American consultants, maintained a direct line to Clinton's Chief Strategist, Dick Morris. According to reporting by Sean Guillory , in his book, Behind the Oval Office , Morris says that, with Clinton's approval, he received weekly briefings from Dresner that he would give to Clinton. Based on those briefings, Clinton would then provide recommendations to Dresner through Morris.

Then ambassador to Russia, Thomas Pickering, even pressured an opposing candidate to drop out of the election to improve Yeltsin's odds of winning.

The US not only helped run Yeltsin's campaign, they helped pay for it. The US backed a $10.2 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan for Russia, the second-biggest loan the IMF had ever given. The New York Times reported that the loan was "expected to be helpful to President Boris N. Yeltsin in the presidential election in June." The Times explained that the loan was "a vote of confidence" for Yeltsin who "has been lagging well behind in opinion polls" and added that the US Treasury Secretary "welcomed the fund's decision."

Yeltsin won the election by 13%, and Time magazine's cover declared: "Yanks to the rescue: The secret story of how American advisers helped Yeltsin win". Cohen reports that the US ambassador to Russia boasted that "without our leadership we would see a considerably different Russia today." That's a confession of election interference.

Asserting its right as the unipolar victor of a Cold War it never won, betraying the central promise of the negotiated end of the cold war by engulfing Russia's neighbors, arming those nations against its written and signed word and stealing all Russian hope in capitalism and democracy by kidnapping and torturing Russian capitalism and democracy, the roots of the new cold war were not planted by Russian lies and aggression, as the doctrinal Western version teaches, but by the American lies and aggression that the fact checked, demythologized version of history reveals.

Ted Snider writes on analyzing patterns in US foreign policy and history.

[Sep 15, 2019] USA foreign policy since 70th was controlled by neocons who as a typical Trotskyites (neoliberalism is actually Trotskyism for the rich) were/are hell-bent of world domination and practice gangster capitalism in foreign policy

The USA might eventually pay the price for the economic rape and alienation of Russia by criminal Clinton and his coterie
Notable quotes:
"... Madeline "not so bright" Allbright was the first swan. As well as Clinton attempts to bankrupt and subdue Russia and criminal (in a sense of no permission from the UN) attack on Yugoslavia. Both backfired: Russia became permanently hostile. The fact he and his coterie were not yet tried by something like Nuremberg tribunal is only due to the USA dominance at this stage of history. ..."
"... The truth is that after the dissolution of the USSR the USA foreign policy became completely unhinged. And inside the country the elite became cannibalistic, as there was no external threat to its dominance in the form of the USSR. ..."
"... Still as an imperial state and the center of neoliberal empire the USA relies more on financial instruments and neoliberal comprador elite inside the country. ..."
Sep 15, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

likbez -> anne... , September 14, 2019 at 08:30 PM

"The US served as a benevolent hegemon, administering the occasional rap on the knuckles to those acting in bad faith"

USA foreign policy since 70th was controlled by neocons who as a typical Trotskyites (neoliberalism is actually Trotskyism for the rich) were/are hell-bent of world domination and practice gangster capitalism in foreign policy.

Bolton attitude to UN is very symptomatic for the neocons as a whole.

Madeline "not so bright" Allbright was the first swan. As well as Clinton attempts to bankrupt and subdue Russia and criminal (in a sense of no permission from the UN) attack on Yugoslavia. Both backfired: Russia became permanently hostile. The fact he and his coterie were not yet tried by something like Nuremberg tribunal is only due to the USA dominance at this stage of history.

The truth is that after the dissolution of the USSR the USA foreign policy became completely unhinged. And inside the country the elite became cannibalistic, as there was no external threat to its dominance in the form of the USSR.

The USA stated to behave like a typical Imperial state (New Rome, or, more correctly, London) accepting no rules/laws that are not written by themselves (and when it is convenient to obey them) with the only difference from the classic imperial states that the hegemony it not based on the military presence/occupation ( like was the case with British empire)

Although this is not completely true as there are 761 US Military Bases across the planet and only 46 Countries with no US military presence. Of them, seven countries with 13 New Military Bases were added since 09/11/2001.In 2001 the US had a quarter million troops posted abroad.

Still as an imperial state and the center of neoliberal empire the USA relies more on financial instruments and neoliberal comprador elite inside the country.

I recently learned from https://akarlin.com/2010/04/on-liberasts-and-liberasty/ that the derogatory term for the neoliberal part of the Russian elite is "liberasts" and this term gradually slipping into English language ( http://onlineslangdictionary.com/meaning-definition-of/liberast ;-)

With the collapse of neoliberal ideology in 2008 the USA centered neoliberal empire experiences first cracks. Brexit and election of Trump widened the cracks in a sense of further legitimizing the ruling neoliberal elite (big middle finger for Hillary was addressed to the elite as whole)

If oil price exceed $100 per barrel there will yet another crack or even repetition of the 2008 Great Recession on a new level (although we may argue that the Great Recession never ended and just entered in Summers terms "permanent stagnation: phase)

Although currently with a bully at the helm the USA empire still going strong in forcing vassals and competitors to reconsider their desire to challenge the USA that situation will not last. Trump currently is trying to neutralize the treat from China by rejecting classic neoliberal globalization mechanism as well as signed treaties like WTO. He might be successful in the short run but in the "long run" that undermines the USA centered neoliberal empire and speed up its demise. .

In the long run the future does not look too bright as crimes committed by the USA during triumphal period of neoliberalism hangs like albatross around the USA neck.

EU now definitely wants to play its own game as Macron recently stated and which Merkel tacitly supports. If EU allies with Russia it will became No.1 force in the world with the USA No. 2. With severe consequences for the USA.

If Russia allied with China the USA Np.1 position will hinge of keeping EU vassals in check and NATO in place. Without them it will became No.2 with fatal consequences for the dollar as world reserve currency and sudden change of the USA financial position due to the level of external debt and requires devaluation of the dollar.

Looks like 75 year after WWII the world started to self-organize a countervailing force trying to tame the USA with some interest expressed by such players as EU, Russia, China, India, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan and even Saudi Arabia. As well as ( in the past; and possibly in the future as neoliberal counterrevolutions in both countries probably will end badly) by Brazil and Argentina.

Only Canada, Australia and probably UK can be counted as the reliable parts of the USA empire. That's not much.

[Sep 12, 2019] 5 Questions the Media Won't Ask Biden in the Debate

Looks like Clinton and Obama made books deal a part of revolving door corruption.
Notable quotes:
"... Or a third story, of how normalized this is. Clintons made millions on speeches and books, as did Obama in and out of office. This seems to be how we have decided legal payoffs work in America; money in a brown paper bag is a bribe but ridiculous overpayments for speeches and tell-nothing books is just fine. ..."
"... Biden has had two aneurysms, has blood pouring into his eye, while taking blood thinners to avoid a stroke. He should be getting his affairs in order, not running for office. ..."
Sep 12, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

... ... ...

Q: Joe, how's the asthma?

The reason why I'm asking is you received five student draft deferments during the Vietnam War draft, the same number as Donald Trump and Dick Cheney. And in 1968, when your student status was wrapping up, you were medically reclassified as "not available" due to asthma as a teenager.

In your autobiography , you described your active youth as a lifeguard and high school football player. You also lied (note: Biden lies are usually called gaffes) about being on the University of Delaware football team. Was all that hard with asthma? Were you diagnosed for asthma in 1968 by a podiatrist? Your vice presidential physicals mention multiple aneurysms . Asthma, no.

... ... ...

Q: Joe, can you explain your recent financial success?

In 2008, you earned a $165,200 salary as a senator, supplemented by $20,500 as an adjunct professor at Widener University Law School. You got an advance of $112,500 for your book Promises to Keep . Your wife Jill taught at a community college while you were vice president. You two reported a combined income of $396,000 in 2016, your last year in the Obama administration.

Then, after leaving the Obama White House, you and Jill made more than $15 million , mostly via a new book deal. In fact, you and your wife made nearly twice as much in 2017 as you did in the previous 19 years combined .

How Democrats Are Shorting White Voters for 2020 Warrior-Mayor Pete's Sanctimonious Chest Thumping

Now, we know about inflation and everything, but you were given $10 million for your 2017 memoir, Promise Me, Dad , roughly 10 times what your first book pulled in. Jill was paid more than $3 million for her book, Where the Light Enters , in 2018, by the same publisher as you.

We all know how publishing works: the publisher, Flatiron, pays you, the author, an advance. Profits from book sales are subtracted from that advance. For a publisher to be successful, they need to sell more than they paid out for the advance, and because of this, successful publishers like Flatiron get pretty good at estimating those numbers. Forbes reports that your new book sold 300,000 copies against that $10 million, meaning you, Joe, took home about $33 per copy on a book Amazon is selling for only $13.99 . Of course, it's more complicated than that, but off the cuff do you feel that pocketing $33 on a $13.99 sale was a good deal for you?

And speaking of which, a friend passes along her respect. Hillary Clinton only earned around $5 million from her campaign book.

Your teaching pay went up nicely as well. You got $20,500 for teaching when you entered the White House. After you left office, the University of Pennsylvania gave you $775,000 to teach, and then was nice enough to offer you indefinite leave of absence from actually teaching anything while you campaign. And you got signed for that gig only a month after leaving the White House. Side question: did you post your résumé on Monster or Indeed.com?

What role do you think your being the likely nominee played in how much you were paid? It's almost as if people are giving you money to be your friend. Is there a definition of corruption that might encompass that?

Another friend sends his respect, too, Joe. He's jealous almost no one talks about how you charge the Secret Service $2,200 a month rent for a cottage on your property so they can protect you! He wants to ask if you jokingly call the cottage "Biden Tower." Q: Joe, do you remember the tax loophole you and Obama tried to close, called the "S Corporation"? Since leaving office, you and your wife have laundered money through S Corps to save millions in taxes ordinary Americans have to pay. Why the change of heart, Joe?

In 2012, you said paying higher taxes on higher incomes was patriotic. You told us, "We're not supposed to have a system with one set of rules for the wealthy and one set of rules for everyone else." Along those lines, you and Obama sought to end a well-known dodge, the use of S Corporations to avoid paying Social Security and Medicare taxes.

You'll remember, Joe: by creating a paper S Corporation, an individual receives money for things like book advances and speaking fees not directly, which would cause him to have to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes as with salaries, but laundered as divestitures from a corporation he owns. As corporate money, nasty personal taxes are fully avoided, and the corporation can claim nearly unlimited "business expenses" to be deducted against those profits, as well as benefits from other tax rules that favor companies over individual earners.

So Joe, it seems that after trying to close that S Corp loophole while in the White House, you and Jill are now fans. In fact, your lucrative deals were funneled to you through two S Corps -- CelticCapri for Joe and Giacoppa for Jill. Your S Corp is registered at 1201 North Orange in Wilmington, Delaware. That's a popular block; right nearby is 1209 North Orange, the legal address of 285,000 separate businesses. Delaware, in fact, is ground zero for corporate tax shell companies. Michael Cohen had his there for Trump's use as well.

Delaware has more (paper) corporate entities than people. And Joe, you were one of Delaware's senators for decades. So you knew how things worked when you established your his-and-her S Corps only days after leaving the White House. As a corporate entity, S Corps can also make political contributions. Joe, your own S Corp did so, neatly donating money to your own political PAC, American Possibilities.

So Joe, the question is: is everything regarding your taxes a load of malarkey?

Q: Final question, because I know you're getting tired. How do you intend to debate Trump when corruption, tax fudging, and skipping out on military service come up?

Are you just going to rely on the mainstream media not to ask about those things? Or are you going to go with Trump's sleaze is worse than yours and you're the lesser of two evils candidate because that worked out so well as a strategy in 2016?

Peter Van Buren, a 24-year State Department veteran, is the author of We Meant Well : How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, Hooper's War : A Novel of WWII Japan, and Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the 99%.

Peter Van Buren 12 hours ago

There is actually a second story here, apart from Biden's apparent neck-deep corruption. Why hasn't the MSM covered any of this? The information is not hard to find, available in online public records.

Or a third story, of how normalized this is. Clintons made millions on speeches and books, as did Obama in and out of office. This seems to be how we have decided legal payoffs work in America; money in a brown paper bag is a bribe but ridiculous overpayments for speeches and tell-nothing books is just fine.

Just call me Joe 6 hours ago • edited
Those are all good questions.

I have a question for Biden, and it is dead serious.

What are going to be the president's policies when you die or become fully mentally disabled in office?

Biden has had two aneurysms, has blood pouring into his eye, while taking blood thinners to avoid a stroke. He should be getting his affairs in order, not running for office.

The problem then is that Biden appears electable compared to the Communists running, but if he picks one as a running mate, then that is who we end up as president and that could be the end of our nation.

[Sep 11, 2019] What s Elizabeth Warren really up to>

Notable quotes:
"... Any honest Eisenhower Republican would be a lot better than Clinton or Obama (although still capitalist and imperialist). I am worried, however, about the palling around with HRC and it seems to me that she is (willingly or unknowingly) being used as a firebreak to prevent voters from moving to Bernie. ..."
Sep 11, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

Wally on Tue, 09/10/2019 - 11:00am

There's an excellent new essay by Jeremy Toback on Medium entitled "The Legitimization Machine: Elizabeth Warren."

He riffs off British Marxist David Harvey's contention that 'The neoliberal project is alive but has lost its legitimacy'

Essentially, Toback argues that Warren's project is to somehow hoodwink us into believing that she is an opponent of neoliberalism when in reality she is committed to legitimating neoliberalism. For Warren, neoliberalism is simply really 2 legit 2 quit (I'll spare you the MC Hammer video).

Still, while stark differences between Sanders, Biden and the rest seem obvious to most, when it comes to Elizabeth Warren, many on the alleged left have taken to collapsing distinctions. They argue that Warren's just as, or even more progressive, equal but a woman and therefore better, not quite as good but still a fundamental shift to the left, or at the very least, a serious opponent of neoliberalism. Some have even fantasized that Sanders and Warren function as allies, despite the obvious fact that they are, you know Running against each other.

All of these claims obscure the fundamental truth that Sanders and Warren are different in kind, not degree. Warren has always been a market-first neoliberal and nothing she's doing now suggests deviation. Despite her barrage of plans and recent adoption of left rhetorical shibboleths like "grassroots movements" and "structural change," Warren remains a neoliberal legitimization machine. Anybody who's serious about amending and expanding the social contract and/or preserving the habitability of the planet needs to oppose her candidacy now.

Toback nicely weaves together and systematically presents pretty much all the analysis I've seen here at C99%. It's well worth reading as is the David Harvey interview linked above.

And for some icing on the cake, Toback quotes some lyrics from the splendid Leonard Cohen song 'Democracy':

"It's coming from the sorrow in the street,
the holy places where the races meet;
from the homicidal bitchin'
that goes down in every kitchen
to determine who will serve and who will eat." -- Leonard Cohen

www.youtube.com/embed/ifwtWF485HU

UntimelyRippd on Tue, 09/10/2019 - 11:06am

This:

from the homicidal bitchin'
that goes down in every kitchen
to determine who will serve and who will eat.

is one of the most brilliant things ever written in the English language. There is so much there: layers and levels, politics and pop psych.

vtcc73 on Tue, 09/10/2019 - 11:13am
Like Obama I once thought Warren

might be someone I could support. She said all the right things. That was all I had to judge by. So I took a wait and see. I have always been able to see the reality of actions that differ from words. Hers don't match. It's far better that she lacks Obama's charisma and has shown who she is before she's sitting in Trump's chair.

entrepreneur on Tue, 09/10/2019 - 11:49am
Exactly right on all points.

@vtcc73

might be someone I could support. She said all the right things. That was all I had to judge by. So I took a wait and see. I have always been able to see the reality of actions that differ from words. Hers don't match. It's far better that she lacks Obama's charisma and has shown who she is before she's sitting in Trump's chair.

orlbucfan on Tue, 09/10/2019 - 11:51am
'Neoliberal' is just a fancy BS

term for 'corporate rightwinger.' Rec'd!!

Wally on Tue, 09/10/2019 - 12:45pm
I don't think Warren is a corporate rightwinger

@orlbucfan
I can sympathize with being weary of theory, but I think it's important to try to be precise in discerning a politician's ideological underpinnings. And I think there really is a full, expanding, and even oscillating spectrum of ideologies at play.

It seems to me that fascists would more accurately be characterized as "corporate rightwingers. As fed up as I am with Warren's phony baloney, I don't think she's a fascist or a corporate rightwinger.

Consider Harvey's portrayal of the liberal/neoliberal divide:

In liberal theory, the role of the state is minimal (a "night-watchman" state with laissez faire policies). In neo-liberalism it is accepted that the state play an active role in promoting technological changes and endless capital accumulation through the promotion of commodification and monetisation of everything along with the formation of powerful institutions (such as Central Banks and the International Monetary Fund) and the rebuilding of mental conceptions of the world in favor of neoliberal freedoms.

term for 'corporate rightwinger.' Rec'd!!

Lily O Lady on Tue, 09/10/2019 - 3:18pm
As to the photo, it appears that the cake is a lie.

@Wally

#3
I can sympathize with being weary of theory, but I think it's important to try to be precise in discerning a politician's ideological underpinnings. And I think there really is a full, expanding, and even oscillating spectrum of ideologies at play.

It seems to me that fascists would more accurately be characterized as "corporate rightwingers. As fed up as I am with Warren's phony baloney, I don't think she's a fascist or a corporate rightwinger.

Consider Harvey's portrayal of the liberal/neoliberal divide:

In liberal theory, the role of the state is minimal (a "night-watchman" state with laissez faire policies). In neo-liberalism it is accepted that the state play an active role in promoting technological changes and endless capital accumulation through the promotion of commodification and monetisation of everything along with the formation of powerful institutions (such as Central Banks and the International Monetary Fund) and the rebuilding of mental conceptions of the world in favor of neoliberal freedoms.

Wally on Tue, 09/10/2019 - 3:34pm
I'm going to hell

@Lily O Lady

#3.1

Lily O Lady on Tue, 09/10/2019 - 4:13pm
One of those times I'm glad I wasn't drinking anything!

@Wally

#3.1.1

Cant Stop the M... on Tue, 09/10/2019 - 3:27pm
She's willing to work with them. And for them.

@Wally

That's what "we need a lot of dark money" means.

#3
I can sympathize with being weary of theory, but I think it's important to try to be precise in discerning a politician's ideological underpinnings. And I think there really is a full, expanding, and even oscillating spectrum of ideologies at play.

It seems to me that fascists would more accurately be characterized as "corporate rightwingers. As fed up as I am with Warren's phony baloney, I don't think she's a fascist or a corporate rightwinger.

Consider Harvey's portrayal of the liberal/neoliberal divide:

In liberal theory, the role of the state is minimal (a "night-watchman" state with laissez faire policies). In neo-liberalism it is accepted that the state play an active role in promoting technological changes and endless capital accumulation through the promotion of commodification and monetisation of everything along with the formation of powerful institutions (such as Central Banks and the International Monetary Fund) and the rebuilding of mental conceptions of the world in favor of neoliberal freedoms.

Wally on Tue, 09/10/2019 - 3:30pm
Accurate assessment of who's who on the political spectrum?

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

#3.1

That's what "we need a lot of dark money" means.

Cant Stop the M... on Tue, 09/10/2019 - 3:48pm
I'd scoot Warren

@Wally

over toward Obama. I don't think she's to the left of him. Then again, I'm not really sure how much of what she says I believe. A lot of it seems mushy and ill-defined (what is "access to healthcare?"), and she certainly isn't consistent in her support for MFA. For that matter, how can you take large donations from the people who put us where we are if you intend to change the system they created? Does that mean that the multi-millionaires and billionaires don't like the system they created? That they see its destructiveness and now, finally, want to head it off? That's the only logical way you can put together "I'm going to change the system" and "I'm going to take large donations from people who built, maintain, and profit from the system." Since I've seen no evidence that the "smart money," or any other money, is interested in changing the system, I'd have to reject this hypothesis.

So what am I left with? I'm left with guessing that Warren is another one of those "all we need to do is tweak the system a little" types--but if that's the case, she's not going to solve global warming, the health care crisis, the economic crisis, the collapse of wages, the destruction of basic human rights, the destruction--or distortion--of the rule of law, or the endless wars. All those things have been put in place by the people she wants to take lots of money from. And take it in the dark, too. Spiffing.

#3.1.2

longtalldrink on Tue, 09/10/2019 - 1:23pm
I think Warren is

slippery...just like Clinton (Bill I mean). And don't get me started on this whole palling around with Hillary crap. I mean really Liz?

Roy Blakeley on Tue, 09/10/2019 - 4:40pm
To be fair to Warren

@longtalldrink

She was an outspoken opponent of the TPP in 2015 before she could be seen reasonably as posturing for a Presidential run. The TPP is the essence of neoliberalism.

I have seen her as an Eisenhower Republican and therefore to the left of the Democratic leadership. I think the Consumer Protection Agency was an attempt at moderating some of the worst effects of unrestrained capitalism.

Any honest Eisenhower Republican would be a lot better than Clinton or Obama (although still capitalist and imperialist). I am worried, however, about the palling around with HRC and it seems to me that she is (willingly or unknowingly) being used as a firebreak to prevent voters from moving to Bernie.

slippery...just like Clinton (Bill I mean). And don't get me started on this whole palling around with Hillary crap. I mean really Liz?

[Sep 10, 2019] How Deep Is the Rot in America s Institutions by Charles Hugh Smith

Highly recommended!
The question why the USA intelligence agencies were "unaware" about Epstein activities is an interesting one. Similar question can be asked about Hillary "activities" related to "Clinton cash".
Actually the way the USA elite deal with scandals is to ostracize any whistleblower and silence any media that tryt to dig the story. Open repression including physical elimination is seldom used those days as indirect methods are quite effective.
Notable quotes:
"... Either we root out every last source of rot by investigating, indicting and jailing every wrong-doer and everyone who conspired to protect the guilty in the Epstein case, or America will have sealed its final fall. ..."
"... If you doubt this, then please explain how 1) the NSA, CIA and FBI didn't know what Jeffrey Epstein was up to, and with whom; 2) Epstein was free to pursue his sexual exploitation of minors for years prior to his wrist-slap conviction and for years afterward; 3) Epstein, the highest profile and most at-risk prisoner in the nation, was left alone and the security cameras recording his cell and surroundings were "broken." ..."
"... America's ruling class has crucified whistleblowers , especially those uncovering fraud in the defense (military-industrial-security) and financial (tax evasion) sectors and blatant violations of public trust, civil liberties and privacy. ..."
"... Needless to say, a factual accounting of corruption, cronyism, incompetence, self-serving exploitation of the many by the few, etc. is not welcome in America. Look at the dearth of investigative resources America's corporate media is devoting to digging down to the deepest levels of rot in the Epstein case. ..."
Sep 09, 2019 | www.oftwominds.com

Either we root out every last source of rot by investigating, indicting and jailing every wrong-doer and everyone who conspired to protect the guilty in the Epstein case, or America will have sealed its final fall.

When you discover rot in an apparently sound structure, the first question is: how far has the rot penetrated? If the rot has reached the foundation and turned it to mush, the structure is one wind-storm from collapse.

How deep has the rot of corruption, fraud, abuse of power, betrayal of the public trust, blatant criminality and insiders protecting the guilty penetrated America's key public and private institutions? It's difficult to tell, as the law-enforcement and security agencies are themselves hopelessly compromised.

If you doubt this, then please explain how 1) the NSA, CIA and FBI didn't know what Jeffrey Epstein was up to, and with whom; 2) Epstein was free to pursue his sexual exploitation of minors for years prior to his wrist-slap conviction and for years afterward; 3) Epstein, the highest profile and most at-risk prisoner in the nation, was left alone and the security cameras recording his cell and surroundings were "broken."

If this all strikes you as evidence that America's security and law-enforcement institutions are functioning at a level that's above reproach, then 1) you're a well-paid shill who's protecting the guilty lest your own misdeeds come to light or 2) your consumption of mind-bending meds is off the charts.

How deep has the rot gone in America's ruling elite? One way to measure the depth of the rot is to ask how whistleblowers who've exposed the ugly realities of insider dealing, malfeasance, tax evasion, cover-ups, etc. have fared.

America's ruling class has crucified whistleblowers , especially those uncovering fraud in the defense (military-industrial-security) and financial (tax evasion) sectors and blatant violations of public trust, civil liberties and privacy.

Needless to say, a factual accounting of corruption, cronyism, incompetence, self-serving exploitation of the many by the few, etc. is not welcome in America. Look at the dearth of investigative resources America's corporate media is devoting to digging down to the deepest levels of rot in the Epstein case.

The closer wrong-doing and wrong-doers are to protected power-elites, the less attention the mass media devotes to them.

... ... ...

Here are America's media, law enforcement/security agencies and "leadership" class: they speak no evil, see no evil and hear no evil, in the misguided belief that their misdirection, self-service and protection of the guilty will make us buy the narrative that America's ruling elite and all the core institutions they manage aren't rotten to the foundations.

Either we root out every last source of rot by investigating, indicting and jailing every wrong-doer and everyone who conspired to protect the guilty in the Epstein case, or America will have sealed its final fall.

[Sep 10, 2019] It s all about Gene Sharp and seeping neoliberal regime change using Western logistical support, money, NGO and intelligence agencies and MSM as the leverage

Highly recommended!
What democracy they are talking about? Democracy for whom? This Harvard political prostitutes are talking about democracy for oligarchs which was the nest result of EuroMaydan and the ability of Western companies to buy assets for pennies on the dollar without the control of national government like happen in xUSSR space after dissolution of the USSR, which in retrospect can be classified as a color revolution too, supported by financial injection, logistical support and propaganda campaign in major Western MSM.
What Harvard honchos probably does not understand or does not wish to understand is that neoliberalism as a social system lost its attraction and is in irreversible decline. The ideology of neoliberalism collapsed much like Bolsheviks' ideology. As Politician like Joe Boden which still preach neoliberalism are widely viewed as corrupt or senile (or both) hypocrites.
The "Collective West" still demonstrates formidable intelligence agencies skills (especially the USA and GB), but the key question is: "What they are fighting for?"
They are fighting for neoliberalism which is a lost case. Which looks like KGB successes after WWIII. They won many battles and lost the Cold war.
Not that Bolsheviks in the USSR was healthy or vibrant. Economics was a deep stagnation, alcoholism among working class was rampant, the standard of living of the majority of population slides each year, much like is the case with neoliberalism after, say, 1991. Hidden unemployment in the USSR was high -- at least in high teens if not higher. Like in the USA now good jobs were almost impossible to obtain without "extra help". Medical services while free were dismal, especially dental -- which were horrible. Hospitals were poor as church rats as most money went to MIC. Actually, like in the USA now, MIC helped to strangulate the economy and contributed to the collapse. It was co a corrupt and decaying , led by completely degenerated leadership. To put the person of the level of Gorbachov level of political talent lead such a huge and complex country was an obvious suicide.
But the facts speak for themselves: what people usually get as the result of any color revolution is the typical for any county which lost the war: dramatic drop of the standard of living due to economic rape of the country.
While far form being perfect the Chinese regime at least managed to lift the standard of living of the majority of the population and provide employment. After regime change China will experience the same economic rape as the USSR under Yeltsin regime. So in no way Hong Cong revolution can be viewed a progressive phenomenon despite all the warts of neoliberalism with Chenese characteristics in mainland China (actually this is a variant of NEP that Gorbachov tried to implement in the USSR, but was to politically incompetent to succeed)
Aug 31, 2019 | Chris Fraser @ChrisFraser_HKU • Aug 27 \z

Replying to @edennnnnn_ @AMFChina @lihkg_forum

A related resource that deserves wide circulation:

Why nonviolent resistance beats violent force in effecting social, political change – Harvard Gazette

CHENOWETH: I think it really boils down to four different things. The first is a large and diverse participation that's sustained.

The second thing is that [the movement] needs to elicit loyalty shifts among security forces in particular, but also other elites. Security forces are important because they ultimately are the agents of repression, and their actions largely decide how violent the confrontation with -- and reaction to -- the nonviolent campaign is going to be in the end. But there are other security elites, economic and business elites, state media. There are lots of different pillars that support the status quo, and if they can be disrupted or coerced into noncooperation, then that's a decisive factor.

The third thing is that the campaigns need to be able to have more than just protests; there needs to be a lot of variation in the methods they use.

The fourth thing is that when campaigns are repressed -- which is basically inevitable for those calling for major changes -- they don't either descend into chaos or opt for using violence themselves. If campaigns allow their repression to throw the movement into total disarray or they use it as a pretext to militarize their campaign, then they're essentially co-signing what the regime wants -- for the resisters to play on its own playing field. And they're probably going to get totally crushed.

Wai Sing-Rin @waisingrin • Aug 27

Replying to @ChrisFraser_HKU @edennnnnn_ and 2 others

Anyone who watched the lone frontliner (w translator) sees the frontliners are headed for disaster. They're fighting just to fight with no plans nor objectives.
They see themselves as heroes protecting the HK they love. No doubt their sincerity, but there are 300 of them left.

[Sep 10, 2019] Bolton and company has turned my 2016 protest vote for Trump into a 2020 protest vote for Elizabeth Warren.

Sep 10, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Fed Up 21 hours ago

These idiots don't hire themselves. The problem is Trump. It doesn't matter whether Bolton (or Pompeo, or Hook, or Abrams) is in or out as long as Trump himself is in the White House.

That realization has turned my 2016 protest vote for Trump into a 2020 protest vote for Elizabeth Warren. The underlying principle is be the same, voting yet again for the lesser of two evils.

[Sep 08, 2019] Kidnapping as a tool of imperial statecraft by The Saker

Sep 08, 2019 | www.unz.com

There is nothing new about empires taking hostages and using them to put pressure on whatever rebel group needs to reminded "who is boss". The recent arrest in Italy of Alexander Korshunov , the director for business development at Russia's United Engine Corporation (UEC), is really nothing new but just the latest in a long string of kidnappings. And, as I already mentioned in distant 2017 , that kind of thuggery is not a sign of strength but, in fact, a sign of weakness. Remember Michael Ledeen's immortal words about how "" Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business "? Well, you could say that this latest spat of kidnappings is indicative of the same mindset and goal, just on a much smaller, individual, scale. And, finally, it ain't just Russia, we all know about the kidnapping of Huawei's CFO Meng Wanzhou by the Canadian authorities .

By the way, you might wonder how can I speak of "kidnapping" when, in reality, these were legal arrests made by the legitimate authorities of the countries in which these arrests were made? Simple! As I mentioned last week , words matter and to speak of an "arrest" in this case wrongly suggest that 1) some crime was committed (when in reality there is ZERO evidence of that, hence the talk of "conspiracy" to do something illegal) 2) that this crime was investigated and that the authorities have gathered enough evidence to justify an arrest and 3) that the accused will have a fair trial. None of that applies to the cases of Viktor Bout , Konstantin Iaroshenko , Marina Butina or, for that matter, Meng Wanzhou or Wang Weijing . The truth is that these so-called "arrests" are simple kidnappings, the goal is hostage taking with the goal to either 1) try to force Russia (and China) to yield to US demands or 2) try to "get back" at Russia (and China) following some humiliating climb down by the US Administration (this was also the real reason behind the uncivilized seizure of Russian diplomatic buildings in the USA).

This is not unlike what the Gestapo and the SS liked to do during WWII and their kidnapping of hostages was also called "arrest" by the then state propaganda machine. By the way, the Bolsheviks also did a lot of that during the civil war, but on a much larger scale. In reality, both in the case of the Nazi authorities and in the case of the imperial USA, as soon as a person is arrested he/she is subjected to solitary confinement and other forms of psychological torture (Manning or Assange anybody?!) in order to either make them break or to at least show Russia and China that the US, being the World Hegemon gets to seize anybody worldwide, be it by a CIA kidnapping team or by using local colonial law enforcement authorities (aka local police forces).

US politicians love to "send messages" and this metaphor is used on a daily basis by US officials in all sorts of circumstances. Here the message is simple: we can do whatever the hell we want, and there ain't nothing you can do about it!

But is that last statement really true?

Well, in order to reply to this we should look at the basic options available to Russia (this also applies to China, but here I want to focus on the Russian side of the issue). I guess the basic list of options is pretty straightforward:

Publicly protest and denounce these kidnappings as completely illegal (and immoral to boot!) Retaliate by using legal means (sanctions, cancellation of agreements, etc.) Retaliate by using extra-legal means (counter-kidnappings, not unlike what China allegedly decided to do in the case of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor )

Frankly, in the case of the USA, options one and two are useless: the AngloZionist leaders have long given up any hope of not being hated and despised by 99% of mankind and they have long dropped any pretense of legality, nevermind morality: they don't give a damn what anybody thinks. Their main concern is to conceal their immense weakness, but they fail to do so time and time again. Truly, when wannabe "empires" can't even bring an extremely weakened country such as Venezuela to heel, there ain't much they can do to boot their credibility. If anything, this thuggery is nothing more than the evidence of a mind-blowing weakness of the Empire.

But that weakness in no way implies that Russia and China have good options. Sadly, they don't.

Russia can engage in various types of sanctions, ranging from the petty bureaucratic harassment of US representations, diplomats, businessmen and the like to economic and political retaliations. But let's not kid ourselves, there is very little Russia can do to seriously hurt the USA with such retaliations. Many would advocate retaliation in kind, but that poses a double problem for the Kremlin:

some are more equal than others " and that that which is "allowed" to the World Hegemon is categorically forbidden to everybody else. Thus if Russia retaliates in kind, there will be an explosion of hysterical protests not only by the western legacy corporate and state ziomedia, but also from the 5 th columnist in the Russian "liberal" press.

And yes, unlike the USA, Russia does have a vibrant, diverse and pluralistic media and each time when Putin agrees to a press conference (especially one several hours long) he knows that he will be asked the tough, unpleasant, questions. But since he, unlike most western leaders, can intelligently answer them he does not fear them. As for Dmitrii Peskov and Maria Zakharova, they have heard it all a gazillion during the past years, including often the most ridiculously biased, mis-informed and outright ridiculous "questions" (accusations, really) from the western presstitute corps in Russia.

So yes, Russia could, in theory, retaliate by arresting US citizens in Russia (or by staging Cold War type provocations) or by kidnapping them abroad (Russia does have special forces trained for this kind of operation). But this is most unlikely to yield any meaningful results and it would create a PR nightmare for the Kremlin.

ORDER IT NOW

The truth is that in most of these cases we always come down to the fundamental dichotomy: on one hand we have a rogue state gone bonkers with imperial hubris, arrogance and crass ignorance (say, the USA and/or Israel) while on the other we have states which try to uphold a civilized international order (Russia, China, Iran, etc.). This is by logical necessity a lop-sided struggle in which the thugs will almost always have the advantage.

Kevin Frost , says: September 7, 2019 at 12:05 pm GMT

I see that not everyone believes in an eye for an eye. Bless your religion sir. If I had the power to call down blessings, which I don't, I'd have to make that a double order. You are twice blessed for saying, out loud, publicly and all, that the Soviet Union did not fall, nor did anyone push it over. It was not about the price of oil or the cost of wheat or even the darkness that lurks in the depths of mens souls. It was dismantled by its own chief executive officers and it fell apart precisely because its officials still did their jobs. People have all sorts of strong feelings about this, understandably so, yet is it well to stick to the truth. I agree with you on this matter thought it's difficult to endure such provocative and insulting evils. In past struggles with Europe, Russia has proven itself capable and willing to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve its aims. A determined stance on the part of the leaders puts a burden on the people. But as well, it empowers them to. In this way they succeed.
renfro , says: September 8, 2019 at 4:37 am GMT
Captain Hook to Captain Kumar of the runaway oil tanker lol peter pan clowns running the State Department.

"This is Brian Hook . . . I work for secretary of state Mike Pompeo and serve as the US Representative for Iran," Mr Hook wrote to Akhilesh Kumar on August 26, according to several emails seen by the Financial Times. "I am writing with good news."

"With this money you can have any life you wish and be well-off in old age," Mr Hook wrote in a second email to Mr Kumar that also included a warning. "If you choose not to take this easy path, life will be much harder for you."

[Sep 08, 2019] Elizabeth Warren Stands Out at New Hampshire Democratic Party Convention

This is a kind of NYT endorsement of Warren...
Notable quotes:
"... Ms. Warren received the most enthusiastic reception of the day, with an opening standing ovation that stretched on for nearly two minutes. ..."
"... "There is a lot at stake and people are scared," she said. "But we can't choose a candidate we don't believe in because we're scared." ..."
Sep 08, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs , September 07, 2019 at 03:12 PM

Elizabeth Warren Stands Out at New Hampshire Democratic
Party Convention https://nyti.ms/2POixCr
NYT - Katie Glueck - September 7

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s backers roared supportive slogans and banged on drums as they camped outside Southern New Hampshire University Arena. Backers of Senator Elizabeth Warren marched as part of a jazz-inflected brass band. A fan of Senator Amy Klobuchar admonished passers-by to consider electability, and banners associated with Senator Bernie Sanders that highlighted his own standing in the polls appeared aimed at drawing a contrast with Mr. Biden.

The New Hampshire Democratic Party State Convention drew 19 of the presidential candidates and some of the state's most committed party activists -- including more than 1,200 delegates -- to its gathering here Saturday, offering an early test of campaign organization and enthusiasm in a contest that is traditionally a must-win for candidates from neighboring states.

This cycle, that includes Mr. Sanders of Vermont, who won New Hampshire by a wide margin in 2016, and Ms. Warren of Massachusetts, whose ground game is often regarded as the most extensive in a contest that party officials describe as still fluid -- though Ms. Warren received the most enthusiastic reception of the day, with an opening standing ovation that stretched on for nearly two minutes.

Her supporters wielded inflatable noise makers and she received thunderous applause throughout her address.

"There is a lot at stake and people are scared," she said. "But we can't choose a candidate we don't believe in because we're scared."

It's a version of a line that Ms. Warren has deployed before, though it took on new significance when she deployed it Saturday, days before she faces off against Mr. Biden for the first time on the debate stage.

While many voters feel warmly toward Mr. Biden, some have also cited the perception that he is the most electable candidate in the race, rather than displaying outright enthusiasm for his campaign.

"There's that sense of, we know who Joe is and we trust him," said former State Senator Sylvia Larsen, the former New Hampshire Senate president. "There's still a little bit of people still looking around to say, 'Well, O.K., so what else is out there? Where are the voices? Who else might be a voice?'"

Mr. Biden, the former vice president, was the first of the presidential contenders to speak, and he received a polite though hardly raucous reception as attendees trickled into the arena, which was not yet full on Saturday morning.

Mr. Biden has led in most polls here since entering the race -- though the surveys have been relatively few. He is focused on blue-collar voters, moderates and other Democrats who believe his more centrist brand offers the most promising path to defeating Mr. Trump, in contrast to the more progressive coalitions Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders are working to build.

On the ground, Mr. Sanders's supporters challenged the notion that Mr. Biden is the only candidate well positioned to defeat Mr. Trump.

"Bernie beats Trump," read one banner hanging in the arena. Outside, another banner affixed to a pro-Sanders tent read, "In poll after poll after poll Bernie BEATS Trump."

Mr. Sanders received frequent applause throughout his speech and his supporters -- who appeared dispersed throughout the arena -- greeted many of his remarks with loud whoops.

"Together, we will make Donald Trump a one-term president," he said. "But frankly, frankly, it is not enough just to defeat Trump. We must do much, much more. We must finally create a government and an economy that works for all of us, not just the one percent."

In a sign of organizational strength, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., was also a prominent presence at the convention: He had a large cheering contingent that punctuated his address with rounds of applause. Flush with a field-leading fund-raising haul, his campaign has significantly expanded its presence in New Hampshire, and has announced the opening of 12 new offices in the state.

Senator Kamala Harris of California had a visible support section, too -- her fans wore bright yellow T-shirts -- and she also received applause and cheers.

Yet Ms. Harris's standing in the polls has slipped over the summer, and party leaders here say she does not have the same footprint in the state as some of the other contenders. Perhaps reflecting those dynamics -- and a lunchtime-hour speaking slot -- her ability to excite the room was at times uneven.

"Everybody else and the pundits can ride polls; I'm not on that roller coaster," she told reporters after her speech. "I am working hard, we are steady, I don't get high with the polls, I don't go low with the polls."

Senator Cory Booker, too, found himself brushing off the polls when speaking to reporters after giving an energetic speech that resonated in the room. His candidacy has mystified some veteran New Hampshire Democrats who note his relatively stagnant poll numbers despite extensive on-the-ground campaign organization, endorsements and an ability to deliver a fiery speech.

Certainly, the convention is an imperfect test of the state of the New Hampshire primary. It's a window into the mood of the most plugged-in activists, but isn't necessarily representative of the entire electorate that will turn out on Primary Day -- and it also drew attendees from out of state, from places including Massachusetts, New Jersey and even, in at least one case, California. ...

ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs... , September 07, 2019 at 06:47 PM
Son and his wife were there....... with the Warren signs. I have a pix from fb.

We had other set of grandkids over, or I might have been in the Bernie line.

Good thing!

[Sep 07, 2019] 14 Strange Facts Exposed As General Flynn's Endgame Approaches

Sep 07, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Here are just some of the twists and turns in the case, which has gone on for more than three years.

  1. Flynn's trip to Russia in 2015, where it was claimed Flynn went without the knowledge or approval of the DIA or anyone in Washington, was proven not to be true .
  2. Flynn was suspected of being compromised by a supposed Russian agent, Cambridge academic Svetlana Lokhova, based on allegations from Western intelligence asset Stefan Halper. This was also proven to be not true.
  3. Flynn's phone calls with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were framed as being incredibly shady and a potential violation of the Logan Act . This allegation was always preposterous .
  4. Unnamed intelligence officials leaked the details of the Flynn-Kislyak phone calls to The Washington Post.
  5. FBI agents Peter Strzok and Joseph Pientka were dispatched by Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe to interview Flynn at the White House, even though the FBI had already reviewed the transcripts of the calls and cleared Flynn of any crimes .
  6. Both FBI Director James Comey and McCabe testified to Congress that Flynn didn't lie.
  7. Despite what McCabe and Comey both testified to under oath before Congress, the Mueller special counsel's office decided to prosecute Flynn for perjury in November of 2017 .
  8. The very strange post-dated FD-302 form on the FBI's January 2017 interview of Flynn that wasn't filled out until August 2017, almost seven months afterward, is revealed in a court filing by Flynn's defense team .
  9. FBI agent Pientka became the "DOJ's Invisible Man," despite the fact that Congress has repeatedly called for him to testify. Pientka has remained out of sight and out of mind more than a year and a half since his name first surfaced in connection with the Flynn case.
  10. Judge Rudolph Contreras was removed from the Flynn case immediately after accepting Flynn's guilty plea and was replaced by Judge Emmit Sullivan .
  11. Sullivan issued what's known as a Brady order to prosecutors -- which ordered them to immediately turn over any exculpatory evidence to Flynn's defense team. Flynn's team then made a filing alleging the withholding of exculpatory evidence .
  12. Flynn was given a chance to withdraw his guilty plea by Judge Sullivan but refused , and insisted to go forward with sentencing.
  13. Flynn suddenly fired his lawyers for the past two years and hired Sidney Powell to lead his new legal team following special counsel Robert Mueller's disastrous testimony to Congress . And now, the latest startling development:
  14. Flynn filed to have the Mueller prosecution team replaced for having withheld exculpatory evidence , despite Sullivan having directly ordered them to hand any such evidence over months ago.

Now, it's not that far-fetched of an idea that the Mueller special counsel prosecutors would hide exculpatory evidence from the Flynn defense team, since they've just admitted to having done exactly that in another case their office has been prosecuting .

The defense team for Internet Research Agency/Concord, more popularly known as "the Russian troll farm case," hasn't been smooth going for the Mueller prosecutors.

First, the prosecution team got a real tongue-lashing from Judge Dabney L. Friedrich in early July , when it turned out they had no evidence whatsoever to prove their assertion that the Russian troll farms were being run by the Putin government.

Then, in a filing submitted to the court on Aug. 30, the IRA/Concord defense team alerted Judge Friedrich that the prosecutors just got around to handing them key evidence the prosecutors had for the past 18 months. The prosecution gave no explanation whatsoever as to why they hid this key evidence for more than a year.

It's hard to see at this point how the entire IRA/Concord case isn't tossed out.

What would it mean for Flynn's prosecutors to have been caught hiding exculpatory evidence from him and his lawyers, even after the presiding judge explicitly ordered them in February to hand over everything they had?

It would mean that the Flynn case is tossed out, since the prosecution team was caught engaging in gross misconduct.

Now you can see why Flynn refused to withdraw his guilty plea when Judge Sullivan gave him the opportunity to do so in late December 2018.

A withdrawal of the guilty plea or a pardon would let the Mueller prosecution team off the hook.

And they're not getting off the hook.

Flynn hired the best lawyer he possibly could have when it comes to exposing prosecutorial misconduct. Nobody knows the crafty, corrupt, and dishonest tricks federal prosecutors use better than Powell, who actually wrote a compelling book about such matters, entitled " License to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice ."

Everything this Mueller prosecution team did in withholding exculpatory evidence from Flynn's defense team -- and continued to withhold even after Judge Sullivan specifically issued an order about it -- is going to be fully exposed.

Defying a federal judge's Brady order is a one-way ticket to not only getting fired, it's a serious enough offense to warrant disbarment and prosecution.

If it turns out Mueller special counsel prosecutors withheld exculpatory evidence -- not only in the IRA/Concord case, but also in the cases against Flynn, Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, Rick Gates, Roger Stone, and others -- that will have a huge impact.

If they are willing to withhold exculpatory evidence in one case, why wouldn't they do the same thing in other cases they were prosecuting? Haven't they have already demonstrated they are willing to break the rules? Tags


Tirion , 3 minutes ago link

We have become a third-world country. Even throwing Mueller and his entire prosecutors' team in jail would not be enough to restore confidence in our legal system. But it would be a start.

consistentliving , 2 hours ago link

On or about December 28, 2016, the Russian Ambassador contacted FLYNN.

c. On or about December 29, 2016, FLYNN called a senior official of the Presidential Transition Team ("PTT official"), who was with other senior ·members of the Presidential Transition Team at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, to discuss what, if anything, to communicate to the Russian Ambassador about the U.S. Sanctions. On that call, FLYNN and 2 Case 1:17-cr-00232-RC Document 4 Filed 12/01/17 Page 2 of 6 the PTT official discussed the U.S. Sanctions, including the potential impact of those sanctions on the incoming administration's foreign policy goals. The PIT official and FLYNN also discussed that the members of the Presidential Transition Team at Mar-a-Lago did not want Russia to escalate the situation. d. Immediately after his phone call with the PTT official, FLYNN called the Russian Ambassador and requested that Russia not escalate the situation and only respond to the U.S. Sanctions in a reciprocal manner. e. Shortly after his phone call with the Russian Ambassador, FLYNN spoke with the PTT official to report on the substance of his call with the Russian Ambassador, including their discussion of the U.S. Sanctions. f. On or about December 30, 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin released a statement indicating that Russia would not take retaliatory measures in response to the U.S. Sanctions at that time. g. On or about December 31, 2016, the Russian Ambassador called FLYNN and informed him that Russia had chosen not to retaliate in response to FL YNN's request. h. After his phone call with the Russian Ambassador, FLYNN spoke with senior members of the Presidential Transition Team about FL YNN's conversations with the Russian Ambassador regarding the U.S. Sanctions and Russia's decision not to escalate the situation.

https://www.justice.gov/file/1015126/download

Charlie_Martel , 2 hours ago link

The coup plot between the international intelligence community (which includes our FBI-CIA-etc) and their unregistered foreign agents in the multinational corporate media is slowly being revealed.

Mah_Authoritah , 2 hours ago link

The truth is so precious that it must be spoon fed.

Transmedia001 , 3 hours ago link

Here’s another possibility... elites in the US Gov set on running a soft coup against a duly elected president and his team made up a whole pile of **** and passed it off as truth.

spoonful , 2 hours ago link

Agreed, so long as you put Flynn on the side of the elites

Boris Badenov , 3 hours ago link

The Manafort thing has me totally riled since HRC's "Password" guy and his brother were PARTNERS with manafort, did the same damn things, and were NOT investigated.

Donald Trump is many things to many people, but is not his social personna to be patient. He is being VERY patient to let this unfold, to "give a man enough rope" or political party and its owner, as it may be....

Donna Brazile's book is under-rated: it holds they keys as to who ran the DNC and why after Obie bailed.

TheAnswerIs42 , 3 hours ago link

Our local community rag (Vermont) had an opinion piece last week about "The slide towards Facism", where the author breathlessly stated that she had learned from a MSNBC expose by Rachel Maddow that the administration was firing researchers at NASA and EPA as well as cutting back funding for LGBTQ support groups. Oh the horror. The author conveniently forgot that the same dyke had lied for 2 years about Russia,Russia,Russia but it's still OK to believe any **** that drops out of her mouth.

This is the level of insanity happening around here. Of course it is Bernie's turf.

People who are so stupid and gullible deserve everything they are gonna get.

LEEPERMAX , 4 hours ago link

14 Strange Facts About Mueller's "Michael Flynn Scam"

https://youtu.be/ksb8VsOMqQg

LEEPERMAX , 4 hours ago link

MUELLER and his "Band of Legal Clowns" have played us all for "Absolute Fools" again and again.

THE U.S. IS A CAPTURED OPERATION

Drop-Hammer , 4 hours ago link

Poor Flynn. Rail-roaded by ZOG and Obama and Hillary and Co. I hope beyond hope that the truth is revealed and that he can sue the **** out of the seditionists/(((seditionists))) who put him into this mess such that his great-great-grandchildren will never have to work.

I also blame Trump for throwing Flynn under the bus.

Westcoastliberal , 3 hours ago link

Trump didn't throw Flynn under the bus, I think he would pardon him later, but Trump needs to let this play out. Otherwise the left will bury him.

just the tip , 36 minutes ago link

trump threw flynn under the bus when trump said the reason he let flynn go was flynn lied to pence.

Homer E. Rectus , 4 hours ago link

If they are willing to withhold exculpatory evidence in one case, why wouldn’t they do the same thing in other cases they were prosecuting? Haven’t they have already demonstrated they are willing to break the rules?

Duh! Because it's easy and the media never covers it and AG Barr and FBI director Wray will cover it all up. America no longer operates under rule of law, and now we all know it. Never cooperate with them!

Roger Casement , 4 hours ago link

Mike Flynn stands for us. Help him put handicapped trolls out of work.

Buy lunch for Sidney Powell. o7

https://mikeflynndefensefund.org/

ztack3r , 4 hours ago link

flynn didn't rape children, to buzy trying to fight liberators of iraq and afganistan from invasion... that's his major crime.

I guess, kelly, mattis, mcmaster neither are on the child rape trend. but what can they do? when the entire cia and doj and fbi are full on controlled and run by the pedos? it's like when all the cardinals and the pope are pedos, what a bishop to do...

Why would CIA Rothschild'd up puppet Trump pick only the best William Barr?

Who told Acosta to cut no prosecution deal with Epstein? George Bush? Robert Mukasey? or Bob Mueller?

Trump, Barr, Bush, Mueller all on the same no rule of law national no government pys op , for Epstein & 9/11 clean op team Poppa Bush, Clinton, & Mossad.

Barr: CIA operative

It is a sobering fact that American presidents (many of whom have been corrupt) have gone out of their way to hire fixers to be their attorney generals.

Consider recent history: Loretta Lynch (2015-2017), Eric Holder (2009-2015), Michael Mukasey (2007-2009), Alberto Gonzales (2005-2007), John Ashcroft (2001-2005),Janet Reno (1993-2001), **** Thornburgh (1988-1991), Ed Meese (1985-1988), etc.

Barr, however, is a particularly spectacular and sordid case. As George H.W. Bush’s most notorious insider, and as the AG from 1991 to 1993, Barr wreaked havoc, flaunted the rule of law, and proved himself to be one of the CIA/Deep State’s greatest and most ruthless champions and protectors :

A strong case can be made that William Barr was as powerful and important a figure in the Bush apparatus as any other, besides Poppy Bush himself.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/ciabushiran-contra-covert-operative-fixer-william-barr-nominated-attorney-general/5662609

my new username , 4 hours ago link

That's FBI lawfare: either you plead guilty of crimes you did not commit, or we frame your son, as well as bankrupt you.

Roger Casement , 5 hours ago link

Mike Flynn stands for us. Going to buy guns or butter for the cause?

These consiglieres went after his son. They aren't lawyers. They are hitmen.

https://mikeflynndefensefund.org/

ztack3r , 4 hours ago link

there is a war on america, and the DoD and men like flynn are too arrogant, dumb, and proud to admit they have been fucked and conned deeply by men way smarter than them...

we don't need ******* brains, but killers to wage this revolution against the american pedostate.

and that, what they master, they don't want to do.

if they want money, they should have learned to trade and not kill...

[Sep 07, 2019] "Certain key unknown figures in the Federal Reserve may have 'conspired' with key unknown figures at the Bank of New York to create a situation where $240 billion in off balance sheet securities created in 1991 as part of an official covert operation to overthrow the Soviet Union, could be cleared without publicly acknowledging their existence.

Sep 07, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Tunga , 12 minutes ago link

Oh those securities!

""Certain key unknown figures in the Federal Reserve may have 'conspired' with key unknown figures at the Bank of New York to create a situation where $240 billion in off balance sheet securities created in 1991 as part of an official covert operation to overthrow the Soviet Union, could be cleared without publicly acknowledging their existence. These securities, originally managed by Cantor Fitzgerald, were cleared and settled in the aftermath of September 11th

through the BoNY. The $100 billion account balance bubble reported by the Wall Street Journalas being experienced in the BoNY was tip of a three day operation, when these securities were moved from off-balance-sheet to the balance sheet.

Tunga , 12 minutes ago link

https://www.newyorkfed.org/medialibrary/media/research/epr/02v08n2/0211flempdf.pdf

pparalegal , 3 minutes ago link

Oops. Building 7 and all the records gone in a collapsed vertical pancake. What a shame.

[Sep 06, 2019] America's Billionaires Congealing Around Warren and Buttigieg by Eric Zuesse

In comparison with Joe Biden or Kamala Harris, Warren is huge progress even with her warts and all.
Notable quotes:
"... the DNC is already gaming polls, cherry-picking which are "official" for their 2% threshhold. MSNBC and other networks and pundits also cherry-pick. Or even simply outright lie if the poll doesn't match what they want it to. ..."
"... Polling should either be eliminated or held to MUCH more consistent and much more scientific standards. (demographics, prediction analysis, neutral rather than leading questions, standardized formats, etc.) Until then they're simply more and more useless as predictors of the real poll, the primaries or general. ..."
"... The difference no is, that countries like Canada, the U.S., Australia, UK, Poland, Ukraine, Hungary and with the AfD Germany are either as fascist, or more fascist than ever before. Once again, Russia is hyped up to be the eternal arch enemy of 'Western fascist values', 'freedom and democracy'. How much more difficult would it be today to round up resistance against a fascist axis that is hellbent to march again Russia? ..."
"... Sure, Trudeau is nothing but a bag of lukewarm air, but he employs hard core fascists in his cabinet – paid for by the Canadian people. ..."
"... History will look at the Sanders Warren debacle in the same way it must look now at the theft of the nomination of Henry A. Wallace in favor of the person that had no whatsoever second thoughts about dropping two nukes on an enemy that had already succumbed to the Soviet forces. Henry A. Wallace would heve never dropped these nukes. He was a staunch supporter of the 'common man'. All his policies reflected that. He was a presidential nominee for, of and by the people. ..."
"... To all the mindless party members of the Democratic fascist party: if you repeat history by allowing for the second time to install a puppet of the fascist powers in the U.S., you bear the full responsibilty for the dropping of the next nukes. ..."
"... The difference between Sanders and Wallace is a painful one. Wallace fought against the theft of his nomination with all he got. Subsequently, he realized that the 'Democratic' party would never allow for a person with integrity and the well being of the people at heart to win any nomination. He would have won the following presidency as a third party nominee – Trumann however knew how to prevent that. ..."
"... Much of what is sickening about the US as an imperial power today was present well before 1944 – indeed was present during the 19th century when the US made colonies of Hawaii and the Philippines in the 1890s, and occupied Haiti in 1915 (?), not leaving that country until the 1930s. ..."
"... Forgive me for saying so, but is a party of working folks really supposed to be grovelling for favours from billionaires? ..."
"... I think Gabbard is as authentic a new voice as i have ever seen in the DNC. She may well make it as an independent. Would Sanders? ..."
"... I'd say if a Gabbard/Paul grassroots campaign run by the Sanders 'momentum' network got their act together the USA may finally mature into a proper democracy not owned by their neolib con artistes. ..."
"... America where democracy has been extinguished and their increasingly paranoid voters are under the mistaken belief that yet another talking head can return them to a fair and impartial existence. ..."
"... Too late. Money is king and those that have most want more. The sideshow of elections produces the performing clowns such as Trump, Obama, Bush etc.all spouting the same vacuous promises on behalf of their wealthy benefactors. No real choice or change and an illusion of caring for the welfare of their citizenry. Listen carefully to the clowns, it's the sound of money talking. ..."
Sep 03, 2019 | off-guardian.org

So: the rise of Elizabeth Warren gives the billionaires a 'progressive' candidate who might either win the nomination or else at least split progressive voters during the primaries (between Sanders and Warren) and thus give the nomination to Buttigieg, who is their first choice (especially since both Biden and Harris have been faltering so badly of late).

This explains the gushings for Warren, at such neocon rags as The Atlantic, The New Republic , New Yorker , and Mother Jones .

It's being done in order to set up the final round, so as for its outcome to be acceptable to the billionaires who fund the Democratic Party. Her record in the U.S. Senate is consistently in support of U.S. invasions, coups, and sanctions against countries that have never invaded nor even threatened to invade the U.S., such as Venezuela, Palestine, Syria, and Iran ; she's 100% a neocon (just like G.W. Bush, Obama and Trump were/are); and, to billionaires, that is even more important than her policy-record regarding Wall Street is, because the Military Industrial Complex, which she represents, is even more important to enforcing and spreading the U.S. megacorporate empire than the investment-firms are.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010 , and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity


Jumpbean Max

I feel like any analysis that even mentions polls is guesswork, because nowadays polls are almost entirely useless. In that they aren't accurately measuring people who are actually going to go to open/semi-open or even closed primaries, and caucuses. The cohort of likely voters is different from the cohort who bothers to pick up a phone call from an unknown (polling) number. Or make it through a whole poll. Or do any online polls. Or have a reachable phone # at all.

Plus the fact that the DNC is already gaming polls, cherry-picking which are "official" for their 2% threshhold. MSNBC and other networks and pundits also cherry-pick. Or even simply outright lie if the poll doesn't match what they want it to.

Polling should either be eliminated or held to MUCH more consistent and much more scientific standards. (demographics, prediction analysis, neutral rather than leading questions, standardized formats, etc.) Until then they're simply more and more useless as predictors of the real poll, the primaries or general.

I liked the article other than that though.

mark
"Vote for me, I'm gay!"
"Vote for me, I'm a Red Indian!"
Daniel Rich
Do these 'Democratic Party billionaires ' have names and further affiliations? Could it be that most of these 'Democratic Party billionaires ' favor the Apartheid State? Hmmmmm?
George Cornell
David Bradley's The Atlanticmagazine headlined on August 26th, "Elizabeth Warren Manages to Woo the Democratic Establishment". Wooing in American politics = betraying your principles, cutting deals, bending to the wishes of the powerful, and all round submissive boot-licking.
Roberto
That would be describing successful politics in any country at any time in history. An unsuccessful politician would do the inverse of what you list. For those with good memories, let's try to name some.
George Cornell
Not everyone would agree with that definition of success, but you are quite right.
wardropper
Voice in the "Emperor's New Clothes" story: "Why don't we just ban all financial support of presidential candidates? – I thought this was supposed to be about the person best qualified and best suited to run the country "

HEY! Somebody shut that child up right now, will you!

nevermind
US politics running the UK? Still western nations 'Haves' are playing with themselves and politics. What big fat Yawn.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/cOmdkN6MOwU

bevin
The significance of Sanders is this: if he wins the nomination he will have done so by leading an insurrectionary movement, not only within the Democratic Party but in US society itself. He simply cannot win otherwise. And if he wins the primaries it will have been in spite of the great mass of money and Establishment influence having been mobilised against him.

In other words he is right to call his supporters a "revolution."

It is of course equally true of the Corbyn movement- any victories are immense defeats for both the Establishment and its media. That, in itself is important.
And nowhere more than in Canada where the third and fourth parties- the NDP and the Greens- continue to tack further and further to the right, trying to catch up with the rightward swing of the Liberal Party -now close to full on neo-naziism- and the ultra right Tories.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/09/01/the-canadian-prime-minister-needs-a-history-lesson/

nottheonly1
Thank You for the link. While I am keenly aware of the untold history of WWII and the fact that Hitler would have never gotten where he was from 1933-1941 without the propping up by both U.S. and Zionist interests (mind the redundancy), eager to crush the perceived anti-capitalist behemoth Soviet Union, I am wondering about the present re-run of the same story unfolding.

The difference no is, that countries like Canada, the U.S., Australia, UK, Poland, Ukraine, Hungary and with the AfD Germany are either as fascist, or more fascist than ever before. Once again, Russia is hyped up to be the eternal arch enemy of 'Western fascist values', 'freedom and democracy'. How much more difficult would it be today to round up resistance against a fascist axis that is hellbent to march again Russia?

Sure, Trudeau is nothing but a bag of lukewarm air, but he employs hard core fascists in his cabinet – paid for by the Canadian people. The rest of the what goes for the 'value West' is more of a disgrace than at any time before. These are the real dark ages, as I have stated before. Nothing good can come from these psychopathic puppets in control of countries that ought to deserve much better. Maybe, just maybe, the people of the countries in question should read Rudi Dutschke's works about 'Extra Parliamentary Opposition' – for Dummies?

Junaid
Until Turkey is able to produce S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems – it will buy weapons from Russia. Turkey intends to buy from Russia additional S-400 air defense systems

Turkey intends to buy from Russia additional S-400 air defense systems

nottheonly1
While Bernie Sanders is no Henry A. Wallace by a long shot, Elizabeth Warren is the new Harry Trumann. The Democrats are still the Democratic fascist Party of America and have their party base hypnotized into believing that it has the well being of its voters on its mind.

That is of course a lie and pure propaganda. And since the U.S. is the second most vulnerable nation to propaganda and fascism – with Germany being the number one, in both the past and the present – the people that refuse to leave the Democratic Fascist Party are remiscent of those people who kept following Hitler, even after it had become clear that his 'party' would drive Germany into the abyss.

For the brownshirt-like followers of proven war criminals that both lead, or finance the 'party', absolutely no crime is big enough that would warrant to turn their back on the fascist party.

History will look at the Sanders Warren debacle in the same way it must look now at the theft of the nomination of Henry A. Wallace in favor of the person that had no whatsoever second thoughts about dropping two nukes on an enemy that had already succumbed to the Soviet forces. Henry A. Wallace would heve never dropped these nukes. He was a staunch supporter of the 'common man'. All his policies reflected that. He was a presidential nominee for, of and by the people.

That did not sit too well with the fascists and they stole the nomination from him. Present day America has turned into this corrupt cesspool because of this stolen nomination. Everything that is sickening about the U.S. today, started in 1944. All the surveillance, the mindcontrol, the cold war and the transformation into a wannabe empire – they are all the result of this infamy by the hands of the Democratic fascists.

To all the mindless party members of the Democratic fascist party: if you repeat history by allowing for the second time to install a puppet of the fascist powers in the U.S., you bear the full responsibilty for the dropping of the next nukes. Suffering from such deep sitting cognitive dissonance, party members will find all kinds of excuses to prevent the truth from coming out. Just as there was no war crime by Clinton and Obama sufficient enough to not cheer them like the greatest baseball team ever. Leave the Democratic fascist party now, or have history piss on your graves.

Norcal
Very convincing argument and link, perfectly done. Thank you nottheonly1.
nottheonly1
Thank You, Norcal. It may be best to download these video clips, since they are all taken down one after another based on 'copyright issues'.

The difference between Sanders and Wallace is a painful one. Wallace fought against the theft of his nomination with all he got. Subsequently, he realized that the 'Democratic' party would never allow for a person with integrity and the well being of the people at heart to win any nomination. He would have won the following presidency as a third party nominee – Trumann however knew how to prevent that. As the clip states, the American people only have to be frightened and you can sell them their own demise on a golden platter. The ridicule and shaming of those who want a third party can also be traced back to this time.

It is equally very disturbing that the owner class managed to brain wash the people into accepting the use of 'oligarchs', 'billionaires', or 'donors' when in truth they are the real fascists Henry Wallace had warned about. This must be reversed by all means available. People must understand that the concerted use of these euphemisms will make it next to impossible to accept what these persons really are and what their goals are.

Jen
Much of what is sickening about the US as an imperial power today was present well before 1944 – indeed was present during the 19th century when the US made colonies of Hawaii and the Philippines in the 1890s, and occupied Haiti in 1915 (?), not leaving that country until the 1930s. Of course there was also the genocide of First Nations peoples through the theft of their lands, the wars waged to force them onto reservations, and the massive slaughter of bison as a way of destroying many indigenous cultures.
nottheonly1
Yes, but never before was the deliberate change of course towards fascism so blatant than with the ouster of Wallace. This was the watershed moment that turned the U.S. into the greatest threat for humanity. When You read about Wallace, You will find out that he generally wanted reconcile with the Native Indian Nation. He wanted cooperation with the Soviet Union/Russians for a lasting global peace and prosperity for everyone, not just a few American maggots. Present day U.S. started at that real day of infamy.
Lysias
Wallace was also a big supporter of establishing Israel.
Seamus Padraig

So, whereas they would be able to deal with Warren, they wouldn't be able to deal with Sanders, whose policy-record is remarkably progressive in all respects, and not only on domestic U.S. matters.

Frankly, Bernie could be better on foreign policy. While he did vote against the Iraq War–I give him all due credit for that–he hasn't really opposed any of Washington's other wars, coups and régime-change operations in recent memory. Oh: and Bernie, the self-described socialist, once referred to Hugo Chavez as a "dead dictator". That being said, he would still be preferable to the remaining flotsam in the today's Democrap Party.

Rhys Jaggar
Forgive me for saying so, but is a party of working folks really supposed to be grovelling for favours from billionaires? The Republicans are supposed to be the party for the rich, not the Democrats . And is not time for billionaires to be bumped off by politicians, not politicians bumped off by billionaires?
ANDREW CLEMENTS
Democrat Party are plantation owners at heart
Philip Roddis
A tad uncritical on Sanders, especially his foreign policies, but otherwise an excellent and closely argued takedown of the risible but sadly widespread delusion that America is a democracy. Thanks Eric.
Wilmers31
Democracy itself does not say anything about quality of life, it's just a system. US democracy runs on money. Most thing in life do – pretending it is otherwise, that's where the problem is.

Democracy is just the shell – if you fill it with sh1t it's bad; if you fill it with honey it's sweet.

Biden is remote-controllable, he'd do as told – so of course big money would prefer him.

Philip Roddis
I've just the other day written this piece on democracy . The immediate context is the fiasco re the UK Queen granting Boris Johnson's request to prorogue (temporarily dissolve) parliament, but the issues run deeper and wider.
Dungroanin

There is a long way to that election yet. (The US, ours is finally within reach, unless some wildebeast tramples in )

The DNC dirty tricks won't wash this time – perhaps its time to start reading and talking about the nitty gritty of these leaked mails – if for nothing else for the bravery and ultimate sacrifice of Seth Rich.

How about it Phillip Roddis?

Philip Roddis
Well I'm already stretched perilous thin, DG, but will give it thought.

Meantime, this piece from last week by Katia Novella Miller, first of a two parts with second part to follow on the same KBNB World News site, gives a precis of what Wikileaks showed the world.

George Cornell
Thanks for this -a must read.
Chris Rogers
The lack of mention of Gabbard is telling, as is the fact the Billionaire crowd (Rubinites) are pushing for a candidate I ain't even heard of.

The fact remains, a Sanders – Gabbard ticket against Trump is the preferable outcome for many observers on the Left.

Just as a reminder, neither Sanders & Gabbard are God like figures, in much the same way Corbyn ain't, however, they are the best available at this juncture in time if we really want some change, even if it is incremental.

Dungroanin
I think Gabbard is as authentic a new voice as i have ever seen in the DNC. She may well make it as an independent. Would Sanders?

I read somewhere that the US electorate were self identified as third Republican, Democrat and independent.

If they were given an independent ticket- not part of the two billionaire funded main parties then enough may join the independent third from these.

I'd say if a Gabbard/Paul grassroots campaign run by the Sanders 'momentum' network got their act together the USA may finally mature into a proper democracy not owned by their neolib con artistes.

Grafter
America where democracy has been extinguished and their increasingly paranoid voters are under the mistaken belief that yet another talking head can return them to a fair and impartial existence.

Too late. Money is king and those that have most want more. The sideshow of elections produces the performing clowns such as Trump, Obama, Bush etc.all spouting the same vacuous promises on behalf of their wealthy benefactors. No real choice or change and an illusion of caring for the welfare of their citizenry. Listen carefully to the clowns, it's the sound of money talking.

[Sep 04, 2019] Kiss of Krugman can be fatal for Warren

Notable quotes:
"... What do all those "safe" candidates have in common? Oh, that's right- they all lost . ..."
"... So the more overtly neoliberal candidates are stalling or bailing, with the more progressive candidates (actually or putatively) -- Sanders and Warren -- sailing along. Is that some kind of surprise? ..."
Sep 04, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Bugs Bunny , September 3, 2019 at 5:29 pm

Warren has the Acela corridor's backing and that has been expressed in some fawning coverage from the likes of the WaPo and NYT. Krugman has hinted that she's his candidate as well.

Unless something completely untoward happens, expect her to get great reviews in the next debate.

I don't see how a classic Massachusetts liberal like Warren (to me she's very close to Teddy K in her policy views ) motivates enough abstaining voters to beat Trump. Not enough there, there.

inode_buddha , September 3, 2019 at 6:08 pm

I don't see how a classic Massachusetts Liberal represents anyone under $100K/yr let alone understand their lives.

Pelham , September 3, 2019 at 4:15 pm

Re the polls: Matt Taibbi recently wrote that if Biden lost ground Sanders would be the likely gainer, since Bernie is the second choice for most Biden supporters. But it appears Warren is benefiting as Biden slides.

Too bad. Still, maybe it's just the minority of Biden supporters who pick Warren as their 2nd choice who are bailing on Biden so far. Sanders may still gain if the more hard-core Bidenites begin to leave.

As for Beto's plan to snatch our AK's and AR's, good for him for being so forthright. It's a terrible idea, but one can appreciate the flat-out honesty.

nippersmom , September 3, 2019 at 4:17 pm

" the enduring questions surrounding Biden's age and fitness for office may mean Democrats will lack the "safe" choice they have had in the past, whether the candidate has been former Vice President Al Gore in 2000, former U.S. Senator John Kerry in 2004 or Clinton, the former U.S. senator and secretary of state, in 2008 and 2016."

What do all those "safe" candidates have in common? Oh, that's right- they all lost .

Pat , September 3, 2019 at 4:47 pm

That and they didn't upset the apple carts of the political consultants and the major donors.

Funnily I think the author is missing several 'safe' candidates still in the running, all of whom might secure the nomination on the second ballot depending on who the superdelegate darling is. All of whom would probably be able to uphold that loss record of the safe candidate.

NotTimothyGeithner , September 3, 2019 at 5:27 pm

I didn't click through to read if it was a joke, but I suspect "safe" for Team Blue types means "a candidate who most assuredly won't be criticized by the Republicans."

Al Gore would blunt whining about the deficit. John Kerry was for a "stronger America."

Hillary was so qualified and had faced all arrows including machine gun fire in Serbia. Yep, those moderate Republicans are going to eliminate the need for Team Blue elites to ever have to worry about the poors again.

Jeff W , September 3, 2019 at 6:15 pm

Right -- and none of them had the press openly speculating about a lack of cognitive capacity, as is happening with the current "safe" candidate. That's what passes for "safe" these days, I guess.

Also: "Biden's appeal wanes," Gillibrand crashes and burns, Harris "hasn't caught fire," and Black Lives Matter of South Bend calls for Buttigieg to resign as mayor. (What language(s) will "Mayor Pete" give his resignation speech in, one wonders.)

So the more overtly neoliberal candidates are stalling or bailing, with the more progressive candidates (actually or putatively) -- Sanders and Warren -- sailing along. Is that some kind of surprise?

cuibono , September 3, 2019 at 9:03 pm

Warren is the Billionaires way to get Pete B:
https://off-guardian.org/2019/09/03/americas-billionaires-congealing-around-warren-and-buttigieg/

[Sep 04, 2019] Remember, it was the academics that got this started in the wrong direction, arguably

Sep 04, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Warren: "Monopolist's Worst Nightmare: The Elizabeth Warren Interview" [The American Prospect].

Warren: "Remember, it was the academics that got this started in the wrong direction, arguably."

[Sep 02, 2019] Wall Street banks hate Sanders and Warren

Sep 02, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

CJ New York Aug. 13

I work for a law firm that represents Wall Street banks and I can tell you who they don't like, and that is Sanders and Warren. They hate that Warren created the CFPB and blew the whistle on Wells Fargo and all the other games being played by Wall Street banks. Therefore, I will vote for either of them, Warren preferred.

[Sep 02, 2019] Falling From Grace The Decline Of The US Empire

The USA centered global neoliberal empire falls from grace at alarming speed.
Just the discussion of this possibility would be unthinkable in 90th -- the period of triumphal advance of neoliberalism all over the globe. So thinks did change although it is unclear what is that direction of the social change -- neo-fascism or some kind of return to the New Del Capitalism (if so who will replace previous, forged by Great Depression political alignment between trade unions and management against the financial oligarchy, which financial oligarchy managed to broke using neoliberalism as the Trojan horse and bribing CEOs)
Om a was original fascist movements were also a protest against the rule of financial oligarchy. Even anti-Semitism in Germany was a kind of perverted protest against financial oligarchy as well. They were quickly subverted and in Germany anti-Semitism degenerated into irrational hatred and genocide, , but the fact remains. Just looks at NSDAP program of 1920 . Now we have somewhat similar sentiments with Wexner and Meta group in the USA. To say that they do not invoke any sympathy is an understatement.
The problem with empires that they do not only rob the "other people". They rob their own people as well, and rob them hard. The USSR people were really robbed by Soviet military industrial complex and Soviet globalist -- to the far greater extent then the USA people now. People were really as poor as church rats. Epidemic of alcoholism in the USA resembles the epidemic of narcoaddtion in the USA --- both are signs of desire then there is no jobs and now chances.
Like the collapse of the USSR was the result of the collapse of bolshevism, the collapse of the USA can be the result of the collapse of neoliberalism. Whether it will take 10 or 50 years is unclear, but the general tendency is down.
The competitors has grown much strong now and they want their place under then sub. That means squeezing the USA. Trump did agrat job in alientaing the US and that was probably the most important step is dismantling the USA empire that was taken. Add to that trade war with China and we have the situation that is not favorable to the USA politically in two important parts of the globe.
Add to this Brexit and we have clear tendency of states to reassert their sovereignty, which start hurting the USA based multinationals.
The only things that work in favor of the USA is that currently there is no clear alternative to neoliberalism other then some kind of restoration of the New Deal capitalism or neo-fasist dictatorship.
Notable quotes:
"... Self-discipline, self sacrifice and self restraint are the prices which must be paid for a civilization to survive, much less flourish, and Americans are increasingly unwilling to pay up. The America of a generation or two down the road will have the social cohesion of El Salvador. ..."
"... Being that history is always written by the tyrant of the time (which in our case was definitely behind the two last empires and a big player in Rome as and Spain as well) people are also led to believe that empire is a desireable state of cicumstance. It never was. Its the ambitions and conquistador actions of the collective psychopath. They feed on the strength of civilizations and utilize it for megalomaniac ambitions over power of others and power over everything. ..."
"... Those of you hoping for the end of American Empire need to think about what would replace it. ..."
"... You are completely delusional. The world is not better off under American stewardship. We don't need and shouldn't want anything to replace it. We don't need and shouldn't want any empire ruling the world. We would be better off without any state at all, so we could finally be free people. ..."
"... And no it probably wouldn't be better off under the Chinese. Although if the world stopped respecting American IP law, that would be a huge positive step forward. ..."
Sep 02, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,

Years ago, Doug Casey mentioned in a correspondence to me, "Empires fall from grace with alarming speed."

Every now and then, you receive a comment that, although it may have been stated casually, has a lasting effect, as it offers uncommon insight. For me, this was one of those and it's one that I've kept handy at my desk since that time, as a reminder.

I'm from a British family, one that left the UK just as the British Empire was about to begin its decline. They expatriated to the "New World" to seek promise for the future.

As I've spent most of my life centred in a British colony – the Cayman Islands – I've had the opportunity to observe many British contract professionals who left the UK seeking advancement, which they almost invariably find in Cayman. Curiously, though, most returned to the UK after a contract or two, in the belief that the UK would bounce back from its decline, and they wanted to be on board when Britain "came back."

This, of course, never happened. The US replaced the UK as the world's foremost empire, and although the UK has had its ups and downs over the ensuing decades, it hasn't returned to its former glory.

And it never will.

If we observe the empires of the world that have existed over the millennia, we see a consistent history of collapse without renewal. Whether we're looking at the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Spanish Empire, or any other that's existed at one time, history is remarkably consistent: The decline and fall of any empire never reverses itself; nor does the empire return, once it's fallen.

But of what importance is this to us today?

Well, today, the US is the world's undisputed leading empire and most Americans would agree that, whilst it's going through a bad patch, it will bounce back and might even be better than ever.

Not so, I'm afraid. All empires follow the same cycle. They begin with a population that has a strong work ethic and is self-reliant. Those people organize to form a nation of great strength, based upon high productivity.

This leads to expansion, generally based upon world trade. At some point, this gives rise to leaders who seek, not to work in partnership with other nations, but to dominate them, and of course, this is when a great nation becomes an empire. The US began this stage under the flamboyant and aggressive Teddy Roosevelt.

The twentieth century was the American century and the US went from victory to victory, expanding its power.

But the decline began in the 1960s, when the US started to pursue unwinnable wars, began the destruction of its currency and began to expand its government into an all-powerful body.

Still, this process tends to be protracted and the overall decline often takes decades.

So, how does that square with the quote, "Empires fall from grace with alarming speed"?

Well, the preparation for the fall can often be seen for a generation or more, but the actual fall tends to occur quite rapidly.

What happens is very similar to what happens with a schoolyard bully.

The bully has a slow rise, based upon his strength and aggressive tendency. After a number of successful fights, he becomes first revered, then feared. He then takes on several toadies who lack his abilities but want some of the spoils, so they do his bidding, acting in a threatening manner to other schoolboys.

The bully then becomes hated. No one tells him so, but the other kids secretly dream of his defeat, hopefully in a shameful manner.

Then, at some point, some boy who has a measure of strength and the requisite determination has had enough and takes on the bully.

If he defeats him, a curious thing happens. The toadies suddenly realise that the jig is up and they head for the hills, knowing that their source of power is gone.

Also, once the defeated bully is down, all the anger, fear and hatred that his schoolmates felt for him come out, and they take great pleasure in his defeat.

And this, in a nutshell, is what happens with empires.

A nation that comes to the rescue in times of genuine need (such as the two World Wars) is revered. But once that nation morphs into a bully that uses any excuse to invade countries such as Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq and Syria, its allies may continue to bow to it but secretly fear it and wish that it could be taken down a peg.

When the empire then starts looking around for other nations to bully, such as Iran and Venezuela, its allies again say nothing but react with fear when they see the John Boltons and Mike Pompeos beating the war drums and making reckless comments.

At present, the US is focusing primarily on economic warfare, but if this fails to get the world to bend to its dominance, the US has repeatedly warned, regarding possible military aggression, that "no option is off the table."

The US has reached the classic stage when it has become a reckless bully, and its support structure of allies has begun to de-couple as a result.

At the same time that allies begin to pull back and make other plans for their future, those citizens within the empire who tend to be the creators of prosperity also begin to seek greener pastures.

History has seen this happen countless times. The "brain drain" occurs, in which the best and most productive begin to look elsewhere for their future. Just as the most productive Europeans crossed the Pond to colonise the US when it was a new, promising country, their present-day counterparts have begun moving offshore.

The US is presently in a state of suspended animation. It still appears to be a major force, but its buttresses are quietly disappearing. At some point in the near future, it's likely that the US government will overplay its hand and aggress against a foe that either is stronger or has alliances that, collectively, make it stronger.


Basil1931 , 30 minutes ago link

The greatest (so called) threats to America- the Russians, Chinese, Iranians, North Koreans, ISIS, ( fill in the blank for the latest overseas bogeyman-of-the-week ) pale into a wisp beside the ongoing disintegration of American traditional family life. Self-discipline, self sacrifice and self restraint are the prices which must be paid for a civilization to survive, much less flourish, and Americans are increasingly unwilling to pay up. The America of a generation or two down the road will have the social cohesion of El Salvador.

Ms No , 38 minutes ago link

You also cant warn people about the collapse of empire either. People notoriously go into denial about it and it shocks the **** out of everybody. Since empires bluff and bluster at the end its all to easy for people want to believe.

Being that history is always written by the tyrant of the time (which in our case was definitely behind the two last empires and a big player in Rome as and Spain as well) people are also led to believe that empire is a desireable state of cicumstance. It never was. Its the ambitions and conquistador actions of the collective psychopath. They feed on the strength of civilizations and utilize it for megalomaniac ambitions over power of others and power over everything.

ohm , 55 minutes ago link

Those of you hoping for the end of American Empire need to think about what would replace it. if you think that the world would enter the age of Aquarius and peace will rule the planet you are extremely naive and stupid. If you think that the Chinese would be more benign rulers you are mistaken. The only reason China doesn't use its military to dominate other countries is because it is kept in check by the US.

HillaryOdor , 46 minutes ago link

You are completely delusional. The world is not better off under American stewardship. We don't need and shouldn't want anything to replace it. We don't need and shouldn't want any empire ruling the world. We would be better off without any state at all, so we could finally be free people.

And no it probably wouldn't be better off under the Chinese. Although if the world stopped respecting American IP law, that would be a huge positive step forward.

In the real world, Chinese terrorists are just as bad as American terrorists. Despite the most popular hypnosis gripping the American psyche, you can't have liberty or justice as long as either one is in charge. Whether the Chinese would be worse is debatable. It's not like America has some great track record to compete against. Their reign has been a complete disaster for human rights.

ohm , 41 minutes ago link

We don't need any empire ruling the world.

Agreed. But wishing that something isn't going to happen doesn't stop it from happening.

HillaryOdor , 34 minutes ago link

Pretending you are better off under the current arrangement doesn't make it so.

Pretending you have any control over the future of world politics doesn't make it so.

simpson seers , 43 minutes ago link

'Those of you hoping for the end of American Empire need to think about what would replace it '

for starters, peace would replace it, fake phoney ******.......

ohm , 42 minutes ago link

Why? Do you have a historical example?

ohm , 42 minutes ago link

Why? Do you have a historical example?

SHsparx , 37 minutes ago link

Expecting the inevitable and hoping for something are two different things.

Ms No , 29 minutes ago link

If China became the new empire we wouldnt live under it. It would be at least 100 years out. This empire will screw everybody epically first, plus we have decline weather patterns with super solar grand minimum. Also those people's who may see that next empire will deal with whatever circumstances present themselves and they wont give one **** what we think about it.

Basically power has kept moving west. Nobody will forget the depravity of this one. If written about accurately this one will be remembered most for the medical tyranny and intentional damage it did to human beings through injections and modified good supply, as well as moral depravity and proxy sadistic terrorism. Remember empire backed terrorist groups trafficked children and harvested organs. You can miss it if you want, few will.

ultramaroon , 11 minutes ago link

I do not _hope_ for an end of the American Empire, and I dread what is going to replace it. Howsoever, no empire lasts forever, and our empire is near its end. The Chinese are relentlessly cruel, and that's in their genotype. I probably won't live to see them take over the scraps and bits and pieces of our former empire. Those who are alive and in the prime of their lives when that happens will suffer unimaginably while they live, and their blood will cry out from the grave after they die. It makes me so heart-sick I can't bear to think about it for long, but our progeny will be forced to live it without let or hindrance.

Ms No , 8 minutes ago link

Lets find out the whole details of what they have done to our biology and our children's first before we say how cruel China might be. For starters look at what US and British did in Africa compared to China and Russia's involvement there. They are doing deals and not killing anybody, same with Venezuela.

SmallerGovNow2 , 1 hour ago link

Where else you going to go? What nation ISN'T broke? Europe is going to hell. So is South America. Africa has always been hell. Asia? Look what's going down in Hong Kong. China's broke. Make no mistake, the USA is in decline. But so is the rest of the world...

SmallerGovNow2 , 1 hour ago link

I'd say it's a race to the bottom but it's really that everyone is falling off the cliff at the same time...

perikleous , 1 hour ago link

regardless of what is printed China is not falling, they have a plan and have only advanced it. The debt side will not hurt them because they have been poor before and they have a route to success. They do not have resources but the industrial side is needed everywhere in the world. We are talking about a nation that literally prospered off of our garbage and resells it back to us! Think about it we use something up and pay them to take it away, they recycle it and resell it to us again and moved a nation 4x our population forward!

You really think debt will hurt them, especially the way the US determines debt! A huge portion of it is in the infrastructucture in China and along the BRI which will have returns over time, just as if we in the states rebuilt all our infrastructure by living wage employment rather than MIC investment!

Argentumentum , 1 hour ago link

Yes, all are broke. Assisted suicides of countries all over the world. Emphasise on "assisted".

Nations have been demoralized (the US most certainly, check Yuri Bezmenov) we are in destabilization phase already, collapse has to be next, it is unavoidable now. This will not end well, ignore at your own risk!

I am not talking about countries, just some Life Hedge Regions left in the world. People with brains and resources, you don need a Life Hedge Property! Away from Northern Hemisphere, away from Ring of Fire, etc... Get in touch. lifehedge(at) protonmail.com

He–Mene Mox Mox , 1 hour ago link

What got America into trouble was when Americans who thought of themselves as being "exceptional" became exceptionally stupid. The best and the brightest have already left America. Any wonder why we now depend on Russia to send our astronauts up on their rockets into space, or depend on China, South Korea, and Japan for our electronic products, or why better health care is found in other places outside the U.S., why our educational system has become poorer than what it was 60 years ago, etc.,?

perikleous , 1 hour ago link

When we decided to financialize everything and make nothing but investments we crippled our advancement.

When we decided to take the brightest minds in the world and recruit them into the US and then rather than advance the world with true science, we offer them lucrative money to enter financial markets to use their knowledge in that field.

We take the ones with morals and principles that choose to actually remain in science and then corrupt them over time with money/fame to regurgetate whatever their contractor chooses or lose funding for their projects.

We have corrupted every aspect of advancement and now just use our fake printed money to force the desperate to bend to our will.

SmallerGovNow2 , 1 hour ago link

Where do you see this better health care?

And you're saying the best and brightest left the USA for Russia, China, South Korea, and Japan? I don't think so...

Dump , 1 hour ago link

Good read on the subject of empires Sir John Glubb - The fate of empires and Search for survival.

We are probably near the end of the American Empire. And a fascinating by product of the HK protests is that we may well be near the end of Chinese Communism.

The Herdsman , 1 hour ago link

Nothing moves forward in a straight line. They move up and down. Empires are no exception. The Romans had their ups and downs throughout the course of their empire. You never know when a down cycle is the end but people who want it to end will always write articles like this.

American dominance might be drawing to an end....or it might be gearing up to go another 200 years. Nobody knows so it's a waste of time to speculate.

[Sep 02, 2019] Where is Margaret Thatcher now?

Highly recommended!
Sep 02, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

ambrit , , August 31, 2019 at 11:55 am

Thatcher was an English politico. It is not what she said, but what she did that counts. She is probably down in Dante's Inferno, Ring 8, sub-rings 7-10. (Frauds and false councilors.) See, oh wayward sinners: http://danteworlds.laits.utexas.edu/circle8b.html

The Rev Kev , , September 2, 2019 at 12:37 am

Ring 8, sub-rings 7-10? She will probably find Milton Friedman in the basement there.

ambrit , September 2, 2019 at 7:09 am

Ah, you think that Milton should be at the bottom, eh? Then, I hope that he knows how to ice skate. (He was the worst kind of 'class traitor.' [His parents were small store owner/managers.])

Ring 8 of the Inferno is for 'frauds' of all sorts, sub-rings 7-10 are reserved for Thieves, Deceivers, Schismatics, and Falsifiers. Maggie should feel right at home there.

[Sep 02, 2019] The Russian Oligarchs by Lawrence Bush

Notable quotes:
"... By the late 1990s, national income had fallen by more than 50 percent(compare that with the 27 percent drop in output during the great American depression), investment by 80 percent, real wages by half, and meat and dairy herds by 75 percent. . . . while epidemics of cholera and typhus . . . re-emerged, millions of children suffer[ed] from malnutrition and adult life expectancy . . . plunged." Several of the oligarchs were prosecuted and harassed by Putin's government between 2000 and 2004, before an unofficial agreement was struck to permit most of them to keep their lives and their fortunes as long as they demurred from opposing Putin's political power. ..."
intpolicydigest.org
Mikhail Khodorkovsky was found guilty of fraud related to his control of Siberian oil fields through his Yukos corporation and was sentenced to nine years in prison on this date in 2005. Khodorkovsky, who was behind bars until Vladimir Putin pardoned him in 2013, is half-Jewish (on his father's side).

Many of the Russian oligarchs, most of whom exploited their political connections during the privatization years under Boris Yeltsin's highly corrupt government to become hugely wealthy, are similarly half-Jewish or Jewish, including Boris Berezovsky, who took over Russia's main television channel and died under uncertain circumstances (likely suicide) in 2013; Alexander Abramov, a steel magnate; Mikhail Fridman, a banker; Roman Abramovich, a younger billionaire investor; Viktor Vekselberg, an aluminum tycoon; and Leonid Mikhelson, a natural-gas billionaire, and a half-dozen others.

The shock-capitalism that vaulted these men to the Forbes list of billionaires is known in Russia as the katastroika and "brought in its wake mass pauperisation and unemployment," writes Seumas Milne in The Guardian , "wild extremes of inequality; rampant crime; virulent antisemitism and ethnic violence; combined with legalised gangsterism on a heroic scale and precipitous looting of public assets. . . .

By the late 1990s, national income had fallen by more than 50 percent(compare that with the 27 percent drop in output during the great American depression), investment by 80 percent, real wages by half, and meat and dairy herds by 75 percent. . . . while epidemics of cholera and typhus . . . re-emerged, millions of children suffer[ed] from malnutrition and adult life expectancy . . . plunged." Several of the oligarchs were prosecuted and harassed by Putin's government between 2000 and 2004, before an unofficial agreement was struck to permit most of them to keep their lives and their fortunes as long as they demurred from opposing Putin's political power.

"The oligarchs, idiotically rich in a country that was largely poor, and given to parading their wealth in a manner that makes American hip-hoppers look like an especially reticent community of Amish farmers, could certainly have given any former Soviet citizen pause to wonder, as he queued for beetroot, what the proletarian revolution had been for. The oligarchs, not content with buying companies, villas, yachts, planes and the most beautiful of Russia's beautiful women, also bought power. In 1996, they connived to engineer the re-election of the politically and physically ailing Boris Yeltsin. In 2000, they helped steer Yeltsin's successor into power -- Vladimir Putin, a saturnine former spook with the KGB, and its descendant organisation, the FSB. This, as Russian Godfathers demonstrates, may have been the moment at which the oligarchs out-clevered themselves." –Andrew Mueller, The Guardian

[Sep 02, 2019] Questions Nobody Is Asking About Jeffrey Epstein by Eric Rasmusen

Highly recommended!
While details on Epstein death are not interesting (he ended like a regular pimp) the corruption of high level officials his case revealed in more troubling.
Notable quotes:
"... Epstein was released, and various lawsuits were filed against him and settled out of court, presumably in exchange for silence. The media was quiet or complimentary as Epstein worked his way back into high society. ..."
"... What would I do if I were Epstein? I'd try to get the President, the Attorney-General, or the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York to shut down the investigation before it went public. I'd have all my friends and all my money try to pressure them. If it failed and I were arrested, it would be time for the backup plan -- the Deal. I'd try to minimize my prison time, and, just as important, to be put in one of the nicer federal prisons where I could associate with financial wizards and drug lords instead of serial killers, black nationalists, and people with bad breath. ..."
"... What about the powerful people Epstein would turn in to get his deal? They aren't as smart as Epstein, but they would know the Deal was coming -- that Epstein would be quite happy to sacrifice them in exchange for a prison with a slightly better golf course. What could they do? There's only one good option -- to kill Epstein, and do it quickly, before he could start giving information samples to the U. S. Attorney. ..."
"... Trying to kill informers is absolutely routine in the mafia, or indeed, for gangs of any kind. ..."
"... Famous politicians, unlike gangsters, don't have full-time professional hit men on their staffs, but that's just common sense -- politicians rarely need hit men, so it makes more sense to hire them on a piecework basis than as full-time employees. How would they find hit men? You or I wouldn't know how to start, but it would be easy for them. Rich powerful people have bodyguards. Bodyguards are for defense, but the guys who do defense know guys who do offense. And Epstein's friends are professional networkers. One reporter said of Ghislaine Maxwell, "Her Rolodex would blow away almost anyone else's I can think of -- probably even Rupert Murdoch's." They know people who know people. Maybe I'm six degrees of separation from a mafia hit man, but not Ghislaine Maxwell. I bet she knows at least one mafioso personally who knows more than one hit man. ..."
"... Or, if you can hire a New York Times reporter for $30,000 ( as Epstein famously did a couple of years ago), you can spend $200,000 on a competent hit man to make double sure. Government incompetence does not lend support to the suicide theory; quite the opposite. ..."
"... Statutory rape is not a federal crime ..."
"... At any time from 2008 to the present, Florida and New York prosecutors could have gone after Epstein and easily convicted him. The federal nonprosecution agreement did not bind them. And, of course, it is not just Epstein who should have been prosecuted. Other culprits such as Prince Andrew are still at large. ..."
"... Why isn't anybody but Ann Coulter talking about Barry Krischer and Ric Bradshaw, the Florida state prosecutor and sheriff who went easy on Epstein, or the New York City police who let him violate the sex offender regulations? ..."
"... Krischer refused to use the evidence the Palm Beach police gave him except to file a no-jail-time prostitution charge (they eventually went to Acosta, the federal prosecutor, instead, who got a guilty plea with an 18-month sentence). Bradshaw let him spend his days at home instead of at jail. ..."
"... In New York State, the county prosecutor, Cyrus Vance, fought to prevent Epstein from being classified as a Level III sex offender. Once he was, the police didn't enforce the rule that required him to check in every 90 days. ..."
"... Trafficking is a federal offense, so it would have to involve commerce across state lines. It also must involve sale and profit, not just personal pleasure. ..."
"... Here, the publicity and investigative lead is what is most important, because these are reputable and rich offenders for whom publicity is a bigger threat than losing in court. They have very good lawyers, and probably aren't guilty of federal crimes anyway, just state crimes, in corrupt states where they can use clout more effectively. Thus, killing potential informants before they tell the public is more important than killing informants to prevent their testimony at trial, a much more leisurely task. ..."
"... Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, is the only government official who is clearly trustworthy, because he could have stopped the 2019 Epstein indictment and he didn't. I don't think Attorney-General Barr could have blocked it, and I don't think President Trump could have except by firing Berman. ..."
"... "It was that heart-wrenching series that caught the attention of Congress. Ben Sasse, the Republican senator from Nebraska, joined with his Democratic colleagues and demanded to know how justice had been so miscarried. ..."
"... President Trump didn't have anything personally to fear from Epstein. He is too canny to have gotten involved with him, and the press has been eagerly at work to find the slightest connection between him and Epstein and have come up dry as far as anything but acquaintanceship. But we must worry about a cover-up anyway, because rich and important people would be willing to pay Trump a lot in money or, more likely, in political support, if he does a cover-up. ..."
"... he sealing was completely illegal, as the appeals court politely but devastatingly noted in 2019, and the documents were released a day or two before Epstein died. Someone should check into Judge Sweet's finance and death. He was an ultra-Establishment figure -- a Yale man, alas, like me, and Taft School -- so he might just have been protecting what he considered good people, but his decision to seal the court records was grossly improper. ..."
"... Did Epstein have any dealings in sex, favors, or investments with any Republican except Wexner? ..."
"... Dershowitz, Mitchell, Clinton, Richardson, Dubin, George Stephanopolous, Lawrence Krauss, Katie Couric, Mortimer Zuckerman, Chelsea Handler, Cyrus Vance, and Woody Allen, are all Democrats. Did Epstein ever make use of Republicans? Don't count Trump, who has not been implicated despite the media's best efforts and was probably not even a Republican back in the 90's. Don't count Ken Starr– he's just one of Epstein's lawyers. Don't count scientists who just took money gifts from him. (By the way, Epstein made very little in the way of political contributions , though that little went mostly to Democrats ( $139,000 vs. $18,000 . I bet he extracted more from politicians than he gave to them. ..."
"... What role did Israeli politician Ehud Barak play in all this? ..."
"... Remember Marc Rich? He was a billionaire who fled the country to avoid a possible 300 years prison term, and was pardoned by Bill Clinton in 2001. Ehud Barak, one of Epstein's friends, was one of the people who asked for Rich to be pardoned . Epstein, his killers, and other rich people know that as a last resort they can flee the country and wait for someone like Clinton to come to office and pardon them. ..."
"... "intelligence" is also the kind of excuse people make up so they don't have to say "political pressure." ..."
"... James Patterson and John Connolly published Filthy Rich: A Powerful Billionaire, the Sex Scandal that Undid Him , and All the Justice that Money Can Buy: The Shocking True Story of Jeffrey Epstein . Conchita Sarnoff published TrafficKing: The Jeffrey Epstein Case. I never heard of these before 2019. Did the media bury them? ..."
"... There seems to have been an orchestrated attempt to divert attention to the issue of suicides in prison. Subtle differences in phrasing might help reveal who's been paid off. National Review had an article, "The Conspiracy Theories about Jeffrey Epstein's Death Don't Make Much Sense." The article contains no evidence or argument to support the headline's assertion, just bluster about "madness" and "conspiracy theories". Who else publishes stuff like this? ..."
"... The New York Times was, to its credit, willing to embarrass other publications by 2019. But the Times itself had been part of the cover-up in previous years . Who else was? ..."
"... Not one question involving Maurene Comey, then? She was one of the SDNY prosecutors assigned to this case, and her name has been significantly played down (if at all visible) in the reportage before or after Epstein's death. That she just "happened" to be on this case at all is quite an eyebrow raiser especially with her father under the ongoing "Spygate" investigation ..."
"... As important as it is to go on asking questions about the life and death of Jeffrey Epstein, I have to admit that personally I'm just not interested. I've always found people of his social class to be vaguely repulsive even without the sordid sex allegations. Just their demanding personalities, just the thought of them hanging around in their terrycloth jogging suits, sneering at the world with their irrefrangible arrogance, is enough to make me shudder. I want nothing of their nightmare world; and when they die, I couldn't care less. ..."
"... We are supposed to have faith in this rubbish? The cameras malfunctioned. He didn't have a cellmate. The guards were tired and forced to work overtime. ..."
"... One tiny mention of Jewish magnate Les Wexner but no mention how he & the Bronfmans founded the 'Mega Group' of ultra-Zionist billionaires regularly meeting as to how they could prop up the Jewish state by any & all means, Wexner being the source of many Epstein millions, the original buyer of the NYC mansion he transferred to Epstein etc the excellent Epstein series by Whitney Webb on Mint Press covering all this https://www.mintpressnews.com/author/whitney-webb/ ..."
"... ex-OSS father Donald Barr had written a 'fantasy novel' on sex slavery with scenes of rape of underage teens, 'Space Relations', written whilst Don Barr was headmaster of the Dalton school, which gave Epstein his first job, teaching teens ..."
Sep 02, 2019 | www.unz.com

The Jeffrey Epstein case is notable for the ups and downs in media coverage it's gotten over the years. Everybody, it seems, in New York society knew by 2000 that Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell were corrupting teenage girls, but the press wouldn't cover it. Articles by New York in 2002 and Vanity Fair in 2003 alluded to it gently, while probing Epstein's finances more closely. In 2005, the Palm Beach police investigated. The county prosecutor, Democrat Barry Krischer, wouldn't prosecute for more than prostitution, so they went to the federal prosecutor, Republican Alexander Acosta, and got the FBI involved. Acosta's office prepared an indictment, but before it was filed, he made a deal: Epstein agreed to plead guilty to a state law felony and receive a prison term of 18 months. In exchange, the federal interstate sex trafficking charges would not be prosecuted by Acosta's office. Epstein was officially at the county jail for 13 months, where the county officials under Democratic Sheriff Ric Bradshaw gave him scandalously easy treatment , letting him spend his days outside, and letting him serve a year of probation in place of the last 5 months of his sentence. Acosta's office complained, but it was a county jail, not a federal jail, so he was powerless.

Epstein was released, and various lawsuits were filed against him and settled out of court, presumably in exchange for silence. The media was quiet or complimentary as Epstein worked his way back into high society. Two books were written about the affair, and fell flat. The FBI became interested again around 2011 ( a little known fact ) and maybe things were happening behind the scenes, but the next big event was in 2018 when the Miami Herald published a series of investigative articles rehashing what had happened.

In 2019 federal prosecutors indicted Epstein, he was put in jail, and he mysteriously died. Now, after much complaining in the press about how awful jails are and how many people commit suicide, things are quiet again, at least until the Justice Department and the State of Florida finish their investigation a few years from now. (For details and more links, see " Investigation: Jeffrey Epstein "at Medium.com and " Jeffrey Epstein " at Wikipedia .)

I'm an expert in the field of "game theory", strategic thinking. What would I do if I were Epstein? I'd try to get the President, the Attorney-General, or the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York to shut down the investigation before it went public. I'd have all my friends and all my money try to pressure them. If it failed and I were arrested, it would be time for the backup plan -- the Deal. I'd try to minimize my prison time, and, just as important, to be put in one of the nicer federal prisons where I could associate with financial wizards and drug lords instead of serial killers, black nationalists, and people with bad breath.

That's what Epstein would do. What about the powerful people Epstein would turn in to get his deal? They aren't as smart as Epstein, but they would know the Deal was coming -- that Epstein would be quite happy to sacrifice them in exchange for a prison with a slightly better golf course. What could they do? There's only one good option -- to kill Epstein, and do it quickly, before he could start giving information samples to the U. S. Attorney.

Trying to kill informers is absolutely routine in the mafia, or indeed, for gangs of any kind. The reason people call such talk "conspiracy theories" when it comes to Epstein is that his friends are WASPs and Jews, not Italians and Mexicans. But WASPs and Jews are human too. They want to protect themselves. Famous politicians, unlike gangsters, don't have full-time professional hit men on their staffs, but that's just common sense -- politicians rarely need hit men, so it makes more sense to hire them on a piecework basis than as full-time employees. How would they find hit men? You or I wouldn't know how to start, but it would be easy for them. Rich powerful people have bodyguards. Bodyguards are for defense, but the guys who do defense know guys who do offense. And Epstein's friends are professional networkers. One reporter said of Ghislaine Maxwell, "Her Rolodex would blow away almost anyone else's I can think of -- probably even Rupert Murdoch's." They know people who know people. Maybe I'm six degrees of separation from a mafia hit man, but not Ghislaine Maxwell. I bet she knows at least one mafioso personally who knows more than one hit man.

In light of this, it would be very surprising if someone with a spare $50 million to spend to solve the Epstein problem didn't give it a try. A lot of people can be bribed for $50 million. Thus, we should have expected to see bribery attempts. If none were detected, it must have been because prison workers are not reporting they'd been approached.

Some people say that government incompetence is always a better explanation than government malfeasance. That's obviously wrong -- when an undeserving business gets a contract, it's not always because the government official in charge was just not paying attention. I can well believe that prisons often take prisoners off of suicide watch too soon, have guards who go to sleep and falsify records, remove cellmates from prisoners at risk of suicide or murder, let the TV cameras watching their most important prisoners go on the blink, and so forth. But that cuts both ways.

Remember, in the case of Epstein, we'd expect a murder attempt whether the warden of the most important federal jail in the country is competent or not. If the warden is incompetent, we should expect that murder attempt to succeed. Murder becomes all the more more plausible. Instead of spending $50 million to bribe 20 guards and the warden, you just pay some thug $30,000 to walk in past the snoring guards, open the cell door, and strangle the sleeping prisoner, no fancy James Bond necessary. Or, if you can hire a New York Times reporter for $30,000 ( as Epstein famously did a couple of years ago), you can spend $200,000 on a competent hit man to make double sure. Government incompetence does not lend support to the suicide theory; quite the opposite.

Now to my questions.

Why is nobody blaming the Florida and New York state prosecutors for not prosecuting Epstein and others for statutory rape?

Statutory rape is not a federal crime, so it is not something the Justice Dept. is supposed to investigate or prosecute. They are going after things like interstate sex trafficking. Interstate sex trafficking is generally much harder to prove than statutory rape, which is very easy if the victims will testify.

At any time from 2008 to the present, Florida and New York prosecutors could have gone after Epstein and easily convicted him. The federal nonprosecution agreement did not bind them. And, of course, it is not just Epstein who should have been prosecuted. Other culprits such as Prince Andrew are still at large.

Note that if even if the evidence is just the girl's word against Ghislaine Maxwell's or Prince Andrew's, it's still quite possible to get a jury to convict. After all, who would you believe, in a choice between Maxwell, Andrew, and Anyone Else in the World? For an example of what can be done if the government is eager to convict, instead of eager to protect important people, see the 2019 Cardinal Pell case in Australia. He was convicted by the secret testimony of a former choirboy, the only complainant, who claimed Pell had committed indecent acts during a chance encounter after Mass before Pell had even unrobed. Naturally, the only cardinal to be convicted of anything in the Catholic Church scandals is also the one who's done the most to fight corruption. Where there's a will, there's a way to prosecute. It's even easier to convict someone if he's actually guilty.

Why isn't anybody but Ann Coulter talking about Barry Krischer and Ric Bradshaw, the Florida state prosecutor and sheriff who went easy on Epstein, or the New York City police who let him violate the sex offender regulations?

Krischer refused to use the evidence the Palm Beach police gave him except to file a no-jail-time prostitution charge (they eventually went to Acosta, the federal prosecutor, instead, who got a guilty plea with an 18-month sentence). Bradshaw let him spend his days at home instead of at jail.

In New York State, the county prosecutor, Cyrus Vance, fought to prevent Epstein from being classified as a Level III sex offender. Once he was, the police didn't enforce the rule that required him to check in every 90 days.

How easy would it have been to prove in 2016 or 2019 that Epstein and his people were guilty of federal sex trafficking?

Not easy, I should think. It wouldn't be enough to prove that Epstein debauched teenagers. Trafficking is a federal offense, so it would have to involve commerce across state lines. It also must involve sale and profit, not just personal pleasure. The 2019 indictment is weak on this. The "interstate commerce" looks like it's limited to Epstein making phone calls between Florida and New York. This is why I am not completely skeptical when former U.S. Attorney Acosta says that the 2008 nonprosecution deal was reasonable. He had strong evidence the Epstein violated Florida state law -- but that wasn't relevant. He had to prove violations of federal law.

Why didn't Epstein ask the Court, or the Justice Dept., for permission to have an unarmed guard share his cell with him?

Epstein had no chance at bail without bribing the judge, but this request would have been reasonable. That he didn't request a guard is, I think, the strongest evidence that he wanted to die. If he didn't commit suicide himself, he was sure making it easy for someone else to kill him.

Could Epstein have used the safeguard of leaving a trove of photos with a friend or lawyer to be published if he died an unnatural death?

Well, think about it -- Epstein's lawyer was Alan Dershowitz. If he left photos with someone like Dershowitz, that someone could earn a lot more by using the photos for blackmail himself than by dutifully carrying out his perverted customer's instructions. The evidence is just too valuable, and Epstein was someone whose friends weren't the kind of people he could trust. Probably not even his brother.

Who is in danger of dying next?

Prison workers from guard to warden should be told that if they took bribes, their lives are now in danger. Prison guards may not be bright enough to realize this. Anybody who knows anything important about Epstein should be advised to publicize their information immediately. That is the best way to stay alive.

This is not like a typical case where witnesses get killed so they won't testify. It's not like with gangsters. Here, the publicity and investigative lead is what is most important, because these are reputable and rich offenders for whom publicity is a bigger threat than losing in court. They have very good lawyers, and probably aren't guilty of federal crimes anyway, just state crimes, in corrupt states where they can use clout more effectively. Thus, killing potential informants before they tell the public is more important than killing informants to prevent their testimony at trial, a much more leisurely task.

What happened to Epstein's body?

The Justice Dept. had better not have let Epstein's body be cremated. And they'd better give us convincing evidence that it's his body. If I had $100 million to get out of jail with, acquiring a corpse and bribing a few people to switch fingerprints and DNA wouldn't be hard. I find it worrying that the government has not released proof that Epstein is dead or a copy of the autopsy.

Was Epstein's jail really full of mice?

The New York Times says,

"Beyond its isolation, the wing is infested with rodents and cockroaches, and inmates often have to navigate standing water -- as well as urine and fecal matter -- that spills from faulty plumbing, accounts from former inmates and lawyers said. One lawyer said mice often eat his clients' papers."

" Often have to navigate standing water"? "Mice often eat his clients' papers?" Really? I'm skeptical. What do the vermin eat -- do inmates leave Snickers bars open in their cells? Has anyone checked on what the prison conditions really like?

Is it just a coincidence that Epstein made a new will two days before he died?

I can answer this one. Yes, it is coincidence, though it's not a coincidence that he rewrote the will shortly after being denied bail. The will leaves everything to a trust, and it is the trust document (which is confidential), not the will (which is public), that determines who gets the money. Probably the only thing that Epstein changed in his will was the listing of assets, and he probably changed that because he'd just updated his list of assets for the bail hearing anyway, so it was a convenient time to update the will.

Did Epstein's veiled threat against DOJ officials in his bail filing backfire?

Epstein's lawyers wrote in his bail request,

"If the government is correct that the NPA does not, and never did, preclude a prosecution in this district, then the government will likely have to explain why it purposefully delayed a prosecution of someone like Mr. Epstein, who registered as a sex offender 10 years ago and was certainly no stranger to law enforcement. There is no legitimate explanation for the delay."

I see this as a veiled threat. The threat is that Epstein would subpoena people and documents from the Justice Department relevant to the question of why there was a ten-year delay before prosecution, to expose the illegitimate explanation for the delay. Somebody is to blame for that delay, and court-ordered disclosure is a bigger threat than an internal federal investigation.

Who can we trust?

Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, is the only government official who is clearly trustworthy, because he could have stopped the 2019 Epstein indictment and he didn't. I don't think Attorney-General Barr could have blocked it, and I don't think President Trump could have except by firing Berman. I do trust Attorney-General Barr, however, from what I've heard of him and because he instantly and publicly said he would have not just the FBI but the Justice Dept. Inspector-General investigate Epstein's death, and he quickly fired the federal prison head honcho. The FBI is untrustworthy, but Inspector-Generals are often honorable.

Someone else who may be a hero in this is Senator Ben Sasse. Vicki Ward writes in the Daily Beast :

"It was that heart-wrenching series that caught the attention of Congress. Ben Sasse, the Republican senator from Nebraska, joined with his Democratic colleagues and demanded to know how justice had been so miscarried.

Given the political sentiment, it's unsurprising that the FBI should feel newly emboldened to investigate Epstein -- basing some of their work on Brown's excellent reporting."

Will President Trump Cover Up Epstein's Death in Exchange for Political Leverage?

President Trump didn't have anything personally to fear from Epstein. He is too canny to have gotten involved with him, and the press has been eagerly at work to find the slightest connection between him and Epstein and have come up dry as far as anything but acquaintanceship. But we must worry about a cover-up anyway, because rich and important people would be willing to pay Trump a lot in money or, more likely, in political support, if he does a cover-up.

Why did Judge Sweet order Epstein documents sealed in 2017. Did he die naturally in 2019?

Judge Robert Sweet in 2017 ordered all documents in an Epstein-related case sealed. He died in May 2019 at age 96, at home in Idaho. The sealing was completely illegal, as the appeals court politely but devastatingly noted in 2019, and the documents were released a day or two before Epstein died. Someone should check into Judge Sweet's finance and death. He was an ultra-Establishment figure -- a Yale man, alas, like me, and Taft School -- so he might just have been protecting what he considered good people, but his decision to seal the court records was grossly improper.

Did Epstein have any dealings in sex, favors, or investments with any Republican except Wexner?

Dershowitz, Mitchell, Clinton, Richardson, Dubin, George Stephanopolous, Lawrence Krauss, Katie Couric, Mortimer Zuckerman, Chelsea Handler, Cyrus Vance, and Woody Allen, are all Democrats. Did Epstein ever make use of Republicans? Don't count Trump, who has not been implicated despite the media's best efforts and was probably not even a Republican back in the 90's. Don't count Ken Starr– he's just one of Epstein's lawyers. Don't count scientists who just took money gifts from him. (By the way, Epstein made very little in the way of political contributions , though that little went mostly to Democrats ( $139,000 vs. $18,000 . I bet he extracted more from politicians than he gave to them.

What role did Israeli politician Ehud Barak play in all this?

Remember Marc Rich? He was a billionaire who fled the country to avoid a possible 300 years prison term, and was pardoned by Bill Clinton in 2001. Ehud Barak, one of Epstein's friends, was one of the people who asked for Rich to be pardoned . Epstein, his killers, and other rich people know that as a last resort they can flee the country and wait for someone like Clinton to come to office and pardon them.

Acosta said that Washington Bush Administration people told him to go easy on Epstein because he was an intelligence source. That is plausible. Epstein had info and blackmailing ability with people like Ehud Barak, leader of Israel's Labor Party. But "intelligence" is also the kind of excuse people make up so they don't have to say "political pressure."

Why did nobody pay attention to the two 2016 books on Epstein?

James Patterson and John Connolly published Filthy Rich: A Powerful Billionaire, the Sex Scandal that Undid Him , and All the Justice that Money Can Buy: The Shocking True Story of Jeffrey Epstein . Conchita Sarnoff published TrafficKing: The Jeffrey Epstein Case. I never heard of these before 2019. Did the media bury them?

Which newspapers reported Epstein's death as "suicide" and which as "apparent suicide"?

More generally, which media outlets seem to be trying to brush Epstein's death under the rug? There seems to have been an orchestrated attempt to divert attention to the issue of suicides in prison. Subtle differences in phrasing might help reveal who's been paid off. National Review had an article, "The Conspiracy Theories about Jeffrey Epstein's Death Don't Make Much Sense." The article contains no evidence or argument to support the headline's assertion, just bluster about "madness" and "conspiracy theories". Who else publishes stuff like this?

How much did Epstein corrupt the media from 2008 to 2019?

Even outlets that generally publish good articles must be suspected of corruption. Epstein made an effort to get good publicity. The New York Times wrote,

"The effort led to the publication of articles describing him as a selfless and forward-thinking philanthropist with an interest in science on websites like Forbes, National Review and HuffPost .

All three articles have been removed from their sites in recent days, after inquiries from The New York Times .

The National Review piece, from the same year, called him "a smart businessman" with a "passion for cutting-edge science."

Ms. Galbraith was also a publicist for Mr. Epstein, according to several news releases promoting Mr. Epstein's foundations In the article that appeared on the National Review site, she described him as having "given thoughtfully to countless organizations that help educate underprivileged children."

"We took down the piece, and regret publishing it," Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review since 1997, said in an email. He added that the publication had "had a process in place for a while now to weed out such commercially self-interested pieces from lobbyists and PR flacks.""

The New York Times was, to its credit, willing to embarrass other publications by 2019. But the Times itself had been part of the cover-up in previous years . Who else was?

Eric Rasmusen is an economist who has held an endowed chair at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business and visiting positions at Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, the Harvard Economics Department, Chicago's Booth School of Business, Nuffield College/Oxford, and the University of Tokyo Economics Department. He is best known for his book Games and Information. He has published extensively in law and economics, including recent articles on the burakumin outcastes in Japan, the use of game theory in jurisprudence, and quasi-concave functions. The views expressed here are his personal views and are not intended to represent the views of the Kelley School of Business or Indiana University. His vitae is at http://www.rasmusen.org/vita.htm .


Paul.Martin , says: September 2, 2019 at 3:54 am GMT

Not one question involving Maurene Comey, then? She was one of the SDNY prosecutors assigned to this case, and her name has been significantly played down (if at all visible) in the reportage before or after Epstein's death. That she just "happened" to be on this case at all is quite an eyebrow raiser especially with her father under the ongoing "Spygate" investigation

Apparently, there will always be many players on the field, and many ways to do damage control.

utu , says: September 2, 2019 at 4:43 am GMT

How easy would it have been to prove in 2016 or 2019 that Epstein and his people were guilty of federal sex trafficking?

It would be very easy for a motivated prosecutor.

Mann Act: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mann_Act The Mann Act was successfully used to prosecute several Christian preachers in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

So the problem was finding a motivated prosecutor in case of Jewish predator with very likely links to intelligence services of several countries. The motivation was obviously lacking.

Your "expertise" in game theory would be greatly improved if you let yourself consider the Jewish factor.

Intelligent Dasein , says: Website September 2, 2019 at 4:44 am GMT
As important as it is to go on asking questions about the life and death of Jeffrey Epstein, I have to admit that personally I'm just not interested. I've always found people of his social class to be vaguely repulsive even without the sordid sex allegations. Just their demanding personalities, just the thought of them hanging around in their terrycloth jogging suits, sneering at the world with their irrefrangible arrogance, is enough to make me shudder. I want nothing of their nightmare world; and when they die, I couldn't care less.
utu , says: September 2, 2019 at 4:46 am GMT

More generally, which media outlets seem to be trying to brush Epstein's death under the rug?

Not the National Enquirer:

Jeffrey Epstein Murder Cover-up Exposed!
Death Scene Staged to Look Like Suicide
Billionaire's Screams Ignored by Guards!
Fatal Attack Caught on Jail Cameras!
Autopsy is Hiding the Truth!

National Enquirer, Sept 2. 2019
https://reader.magzter.com/preview/7l5c5vd5t28thcmigloxel3670370/367037

Mark James , says: September 2, 2019 at 6:33 am GMT
I don't hold AG Barr in the high regard this piece does. While I'm not suggesting he had anything to do with Epstein's death I do think he's corrupt. I doubt he will do anything that leads to the truth. As for him relieving the warden of his duties, I would hope that was to be expected, wasn't it? I mean he only had two attempts on Epstein's life with the second being a success. Apparently the first didn't jolt the warden into some kind of action as it appears he was guilty of a number of sins including 'Sloth.'

As for the publications that don't like conspiracy theories –like the National Review -- they are a hoot. We are supposed to have faith in this rubbish? The cameras malfunctioned. He didn't have a cellmate. The guards were tired and forced to work overtime. There was no camera specifically in the cell with Epstein.
In the end I think Epstein probably was allowed to kill himself but I'm not confident in that scenario at all. And yes the media should pressure Barr to hav e a look in the cell and see exactly how a suicide attempt might have succeeded or if it was a long-shot at best, given the materiel and conditions.

SafeNow , says: September 2, 2019 at 6:49 am GMT
19. Why is the non-prosecution agreement ambiguous ("globally" binding), when it was written by the best lawyers in the country for a very wealthy client? Was the ambiguity bargained-for? If so, what are the implications?

20. With "globally" still being unresolved (to the bail judge's first-paragraph astonishment), why commit suicide now?

21. The "it was malfeasance" components are specified. For mere malfeasance to have been the cause, all of the components would have to be true; it would be a multiplicative function of the several components. Is no one sufficiently quantitative to estimate the magnitude?

22. What is the best single takeaway phrase that emerges from all of this? My nomination is: "In your face." The brazen, shameless, unprecedented, turning-point, in-your-faceness of it.

sally , says: September 2, 2019 at 7:32 am GMT
ER the answer is easy to you list of questions .. there is no law in the world when violations are not prosecuted and fair open for all to see trials are not held and judges do not deliver the appropriate penalties upon convictions. .. in cases involving the CIA prosecution it is unheard of that a open for all to see trial takes place.

This is why we the governed masses need a parallel government..

such an oversight government would allow to pick out the negligent or wilful misconduct of persons in functional government and prosecute such persons in the independent people's court.. Without a second government to oversee the first government there is no democracy; democracy cannot stand and the governed masses will never see the light of a fair day .. unless the masses have oversight authority on what is to be made into law, and are given without prejudice to their standing in America the right to charge those associated to government with negligent or wilful misconduct.

mypoint

Anonymous [425] Disclaimer , says: Website September 2, 2019 at 7:33 am GMT

https://www.youtube.com/embed/fMG8SVrqstg?feature=oembed

Brabantian , says: September 2, 2019 at 8:31 am GMT
There are big questions this article is not asking either

The words 'Mossad' seems not to appear above, and just a brief mention of 'Israel' with Ehud Barak

One tiny mention of Jewish magnate Les Wexner but no mention how he & the Bronfmans founded the 'Mega Group' of ultra-Zionist billionaires regularly meeting as to how they could prop up the Jewish state by any & all means, Wexner being the source of many Epstein millions, the original buyer of the NYC mansion he transferred to Epstein etc the excellent Epstein series by Whitney Webb on Mint Press covering all this
https://www.mintpressnews.com/author/whitney-webb/

Was escape to freedom & Israe,l the ultimate payoff for Epstein's decades of work for Mossad, grooming and abusing young teens, filmed in flagrante delicto with prominent people for political blackmail?

Is it not likely this was a Mossad jailbreak covered by fake 'suicide', with Epstein alive now, with US gov now also in possession of the assumed Epstein sexual blackmail video tapes?

We have the Epstein 'death in jail' under the US Attorney General Bill Barr, a former CIA officer 1973-77, the CIA supporting him thru night law school, Bill Barr's later law firm Kirkland Ellis representing Epstein

Whose Jewish-born ex-OSS father Donald Barr had written a 'fantasy novel' on sex slavery with scenes of rape of underage teens, 'Space Relations', written whilst Don Barr was headmaster of the Dalton school, which gave Epstein his first job, teaching teens

So would a crypto-Jewish 'former' CIA officer who is now USA Attorney General, possibly help a Mossad political blackmailer escape to Israel after a fake 'jail suicide'?

An intriguing 4chan post a few hours after Epstein's 'body was discovered', says Epstein was put in a wheelchair and driven out of the jail in a van, accompanied by a man in a green military uniform – timestamp is USA Pacific on the screencap apparently, so about 10:44 NYC time Sat.10 Aug

FWIW, drone video of Epstein's Little St James island from Friday 30 August, shows a man who could be Epstein himself, on the left by one vehicle, talking to a black man sitting on a quad all-terrain unit

Close up of Epstein-like man between vehicles, from video note 'pale finger' match-up to archive photo Epstein

Anon [261] Disclaimer , says: September 2, 2019 at 8:34 am GMT
The thing that sticks out for me is that Epstein was caught, charged, and went to jail previously, but he didn't die . The second time, it appears he was murdered. I strongly suspect that the person who murdered Epstein was someone who only met Epstein after 2008, or was someone Epstein only procured for after 2008. Otherwise, this person would have killed Epstein back when Epstein was charged by the cops the first time.

Either that, or the killer is someone who is an opponent of Trump, and this person was genuinely terrified that Trump would pressure the Feds to avoid any deals and to squeeze all the important names out of Epstein and prosecute them, too.

anonymous [340] Disclaimer , says: September 2, 2019 at 8:37 am GMT
The author professes himself "expert in the field of "game theory", strategic thinking," but he doesn't say how his 18 questions were arrived at to the exclusion of hundreds of others. Instead, the column includes several casual assumptions and speculation. For example:

As to this last, isn't "quickly [firing] the federal prison head honcho" consistent with a failure-to-prevent-suicide deflection strategy? And has Mr. Rasmusen not "heard" of the hiring of Mr. Epstein by Mr. Barr's father? Or of the father's own Establishment background?

I hope to be wrong, but my own hunch is that these investigations, like the parallel investigations of the RussiaGate hoax, will leave the elite unscathed. I also hope that in the meantime we see more rigorous columns here than this one.

Miro23 , says: September 2, 2019 at 9:45 am GMT

...Also, subsequently, it should have been a top priority to arrest Ghislaine Maxwell but the government, justice and media lack interest . Apparently, they don't know where she is, and they're not making any special efforts to find out.

Sick of Orcs , says: September 2, 2019 at 9:45 am GMT
Epstein had no "dead man's switch" which would release what he knew to media? C'mon! This is basic Villainy 101.

[Sep 02, 2019] Is it Cynical to Believe the System is Corrupt by Bill Black

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... A new opinion poll released by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal last Sunday shows that 70% of Americans are "angry" because our political system seems to only be working for the insiders with money and power. Both Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren have also reflected on this sentiment during their campaigns. Sanders has said that we live in a "corrupt political system designed to protect the wealthy and the powerful." Warren said it's a "rigged system that props up the rich and powerful and kicks dirt on everyone else." ..."
Aug 31, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

A new opinion poll released by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal last Sunday shows that 70% of Americans are "angry" because our political system seems to only be working for the insiders with money and power. Both Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren have also reflected on this sentiment during their campaigns. Sanders has said that we live in a "corrupt political system designed to protect the wealthy and the powerful." Warren said it's a "rigged system that props up the rich and powerful and kicks dirt on everyone else."

A New York Times opinion article written by the political scientist Greg Weiner felt compelled to push back on this message, writing a column with the title, The Shallow Cynicism of 'Everything Is Rigged'. In his column, Weiner basically makes the argument that believing everything is corrupt and rigged is a cynical attitude with which it is possible to dismiss political opponents for being a part of the corruption. In other words, the Sanders and Warren argument is a shortcut, according to Weiner, that avoids real political debate.

Joining me now to discuss whether it makes sense to think of a political system as rigged and corrupt, and whether the cynical attitude is justified, is someone who should know a thing or two about corruption: Bill Black. He is a white collar criminologist, former financial regulator, and associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. He's also the author of the book, The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One. Thanks for joining us again, Bill.

BILL BLACK: Thank you.

GREG WILPERT: As I mentioned that the outset, it seems that Sanders and Warren are in effect taking an open door, at least when it comes to the American public. That is, almost everyone already believes that our political and economic system is rigged. Would you agree with that sentiment that the system is corrupt and rigged for the rich and against pretty much everyone else but especially the poor? What do you think?

BILL BLACK: One of the principal things I study is elite fraud, corruption and predation. The World Bank sent me to India for months as an anti-corruption alleged expert type. And as a financial regulator, this is what I dealt with. This is what I researched. This is a huge chunk of my life. So I wouldn't use the word, if I was being formal in an academic system, "the system." What I would talk about is specific systems that are rigged, and they most assuredly are rigged.

Let me give you an example. One of the most important things that has transformed the world and made it vastly more criminogenic, much more corrupt, is modern executive compensation. This is not an unusual position. This is actually the normal position now, even among very conservative scholars, including the person who was the intellectual godfather of modern executive compensation, Michael Jensen. He has admitted that he spawned unintentionally a monster because CEOs have rigged the compensation system. How do they do that? Well, it starts even before you get hired as a CEO. This is amazing stuff. The standard thing you do as a powerful CEO is you hire this guy, and he specializes in negotiating great deals for CEOs. His first demand, which is almost always given into, is that the corporation pay his fee, not the CEO. On the other side of the table is somebody that the CEO is going to be the boss of negotiating the other side. How hard is he going to negotiate against the guy that's going to be his boss? That's totally rigged.

Then the compensation committee hires compensation specialists who–again, even the most conservative economists agree it is a completely rigged system. Because the only way they get work is if they give this extraordinary compensation. Then, everybody in economics admits that there's a clear way you should run performance pay. It should be really long term. You get the big bucks only after like 10 years of success. In reality, they're always incredibly short term. Why? Because it's vastly easier for the CEO to rig the short-term reported earnings. What's the result of this? Accounting profession, criminology profession, economics profession, law profession. We've all done studies and all of them say this perverse system of compensation causes CEOs to (a) cheat and (b) to be extraordinarily short term in their perspective because it's easier to rig the short-term reported results. Even the most conservative economists agree that's terrible for the economy.

What I've just gone through is a whole bunch of academic literature from over 40-plus years from top scholars in four different fields. That's not cynicism. That's just plain facts if you understand the system. People like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, they didn't, as you say, kick open an open door. They made the open door. It's not like Elizabeth Warren started talking about this six months ago when she started being a potential candidate. She has been saying this and explaining in detail how individual systems are rigged in favor of the wealthy for at least 30 years of work. Bernie Sanders has been doing it for 45 years. This is what the right, including the author of this piece who is an ultra-far right guy, fear the most. It's precisely what they fear, that Bernie and Elizabeth are good at explaining how particular systems are rigged. They explain it in appropriate detail, but they're also good in making it human. They talk the way humans talk as opposed to academics.

That's what the right fear is more than anything, that people will basically get woke. In this, it's being woke to how individual systems have been rigged by the wealthy and powerful to create a sure thing to enrich them, usually at our direct expense.

GREG WILPERT: I think those are some very good examples. They're mostly from the realm of economics. I want to look at one from the realm of politics, which specifically Weiner makes. He cites Sanders, who says that the rich literally buy elections, and Weiner counters this by saying that, "It is difficult to identify instances in American history of an electoral majority wanting something specific that it has not eventually gotten." That's a pretty amazing statement actually, I think, for him to say when you look at the actual polls of what people want and what people get. He then also adds, "That's not possible to dupe the majority with advertising all of the time." What's your response to that argument?

BILL BLACK: Well, actually, that's where he's trying to play economist, and he's particularly bad at economics. He was even worse at economics than he is at political science, where his pitch, by the way is–I'm not overstating this–corruption is good. The real problem with Senator Sanders and Senator Warren is that they're against corruption.

Can you fool many people? Answer: Yes. We have good statistics from people who actually study this as opposed to write op-eds of this kind. In the great financial crisis, one of the most notorious of the predators that targeted blacks and Latinos–we actually have statistics from New Century. And here's a particular scam. The loan broker gets paid more money the worse the deal he gets you, the customer, and he gets paid by the bank. If he can get you to pay more than the market rate of interest, then he gets a kickback, a literal kickback. In almost exactly half of the cases, New Century was able to get substantially above market interest rates, again, targeted at blacks and Latinos.

We know that this kind of predatory approach can succeed, and it can succeed brilliantly. Look at cigarettes. Cigarettes, if you use them as intended, they make you sick and they kill you. It wasn't that very long ago until a huge effort by pushback that the tobacco companies, through a whole series of fake science and incredible amounts of ads that basically tried to associate if you were male, that if you smoked, you'd have a lot of sex type of thing. It was really that crude. It was enormously successful with people in getting them to do things that almost immediately made them sick and often actually killed them.

He's simply wrong empirically. You can see it in US death rates. You can see it in Hell, I'm overweight considerably. Americans are enormously overweight because of the way we eat, which has everything to do with how marketing works in the United States, and it's actually gotten so bad that it's reducing life expectancy in a number of groups in America. That's how incredibly effective predatory practices are in rigging the system. That's again, two Nobel Laureates in economics have recently written about this. George Akerlof and Shiller, both Nobel Laureates in economics, have written about this predation in a book for a general audience. It's called Phishing with a P-H.

GREG WILPERT: I want to turn to the last point that Weiner makes about cynicism. He says that calling the system rigged is actually a form of cynicism. And that cynicism, the belief that everything and everyone is bad or corrupt avoids real political arguments because it tires everyone you disagree with as being a part of that corruption. Would you say, is the belief that the system is rigged a form of cynicism? And if it is, wouldn't Weiner be right that cynicism avoids political debate?

BILL BLACK: He creates a straw man. No one has said that everything and everyone is corrupt. No one has said that if you disagree with me, you are automatically corrupt. What they have given in considerable detail, like I gave as the first example, was here is exactly how the system is rigged. Here are the empirical results of that rigging. This produces vast transfers of wealth to the powerful and wealthy, and it comes at the expense of nearly everybody else. That is factual and that needs to be said. It needs to be said that politicians that support this, and Weiner explicitly does that, says, we need to go back to a system that is more openly corrupt and that if we have that system, the world will be better. That has no empirical basis. It's exactly the opposite. Corruption kills. Corruption ruins economies.

The last thing in the world you want to do is what Weiner calls for, which he says, "We've got to stop applying morality to this form of crime." In essence, he is channeling the godfather. "Tell the Don it wasn't personal. It was just business." There's nothing really immoral in his view about bribing people. I'm sorry. I'm a Midwesterner. It wasn't cynicism. It was morality. He says you can't compromise with corruption. I hope not. Compromising with corruption is precisely why we're in this situation where growth rates have been cut in half, why wage growth has been cut by four-fifths, why blacks and Latinos during the great financial crisis lost 60% to 80% of their wealth in college-educated households. That's why 70% of the public is increasingly woke on this subject.

GREG WILPERT: Well, we're going to leave it there. I was speaking to Bill Black, associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. Thanks again, Bill, for having joined us today.

BILL BLACK: Thank you.

GREG WILPERT: And thank you for joining The Real News Network.

fdr-fan , August 31, 2019 at 2:13 am

Well, Sanders certainly knows that elections are rigged. But he's not quite right when he says that money does the rigging. It would be more accurate to say that powerful people are powerful because they're criminals, and they're rich because they're criminals.

Money is a side effect, not the driver. Specific example: Hillary and Bernie are in the same category of net worth, but Bernie isn't powerful. The difference is that Bernie ISN'T willing to commit murder and blackmail to gain power.

Lambert Strether , August 31, 2019 at 3:31 am

> Hillary and Bernie are in the same category of net worth

Clinton's net worth (says Google) is $45 million; Sanders $2.5 million. So, an order of magnitude difference. I guess that puts Sanders in the 1% category, but Clinton is much closer to the 0.1% category than Sanders.

Steve H. , August 31, 2019 at 6:57 am

There's also a billion-dollar foundation in the mix.

We had our choice of two New York billionaires in the last presidential election. How is this not accounted for? It's like the bond market, the sheer weight carries its own momentum.

Very similar to CEO's. I may not own a private jet, but if the company does, and I control the company, I have the benefit of a private jet. I don't need to own the penthouse to live in it.

Bugs Bunny , August 31, 2019 at 4:18 am

I despise HRC as well but those kinds of accusations would need some real evidence to back them up. Not a helpful comment.

Sorry, but I had to call that out.

Ian Perkins , August 31, 2019 at 10:26 am

"We came, we saw, he died. Tee hee hee!"
"Did it have anything to do with your visit?"
"I'm sure it did."
From a non-legal perspective at least, that makes her an accessory to murder, doesn't it?

Oh , August 31, 2019 at 10:18 am

"Money talks and everything else walks". Don't kid yourself; money is the driver.

Susan the other` , August 31, 2019 at 11:38 am

there's a solution for that

Leroy , August 31, 2019 at 11:53 am

Perhaps you can elaborate on the "murder and blackmail" Mr. Trump !!

vlade , August 31, 2019 at 2:15 am

In the treaser, it says "prevents evidence", I don't think Bill would do that :)

Off The Street , August 31, 2019 at 10:45 am

Treaser -- > Treason
+1

Tyronius , August 31, 2019 at 2:57 am

Is it fair to say the entire system is rigged when enough interconnected parts of it are rigged that no matter where one turns, one finds evidence of corruption? Because like it or not, that's where we are as a country.

Spoofs desu , August 31, 2019 at 7:15 am

Indeed well said

Susan the other` , August 31, 2019 at 11:42 am

Yes. And it is also fair to say, and has been said by lots of cynics over the centuries, that both democracy and capitalism sow the seeds of their own destruction.

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , August 31, 2019 at 3:44 am

Burns me to see yet another "water is not wet" argument being foisted by the NYT, hard to imagine another reason the editorial board pushed for this line *except* to protect the current corrupt one percenters who call their shots. Once Liz The Marionette gets appointed we might get some fluff but the rot will persist, eventually rot becomes putrefaction and the polity dies. Gore Vidal called America and Christianity "death cults".

Oh , August 31, 2019 at 10:21 am

Apt description of Liz.
"I'm a marionette, I'm a marionette, just pull the string" – ABBA

Bugs Bunny , August 31, 2019 at 4:23 am

Another instance where the top comments "Reader Picks" in a NYT op-ed are much more astute than the NYT picks

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/25/opinion/trump-warren-sanders-corruption.html#commentsContainer

People get it.

inode_buddha , August 31, 2019 at 8:28 am

"Due to technical difficulties, comments are unavailable"

Pisses me off that I gave the propaganda rag of note a click and didn't even get the joy of the comments section. I'm sure there's some cynical reason why

Ian Perkins , August 31, 2019 at 10:28 am

I got there first time. No doubt some cynical reason

Barbara , August 31, 2019 at 10:56 am

NYT PicksReader PicksAll

Ronald Weinstein commented August 26

Ronald Weinstein
New YorkAug. 26
Times Pick

Shallow cynicism vs profound naivete. I don't know what to chose.
57 Recommend

Jeff W , August 31, 2019 at 11:41 am

People do get it. That struck me, too.

The other thing is that the NYT runs this pretty indefensible piece by a guy who is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Just how often does NYT -- whose goal, according to its executive editor, "should be to understand different views" -- run a piece from anyone who is leftwing? What's the ratio of pro-establishment, pro-Washington consensus pieces to those that are not? Glenn Greenwald points out that the political spectrum at the NYT op-ed page "spans the small gap from establishment centrist Democrats to establishment centrist Republicans." That, in itself, is consistent with the premise that the system is, indeed, rigged.

Spoofs desu , August 31, 2019 at 7:09 am

I think we have to drill down another level and ask ourselves a more fundamental question "why is cynicism necessarily bad to begin with?" Black's response of parsing to individual systems as being corrupt is playing into the NYT authors trap, sort to speak.

This NYT article is another version of the seemingly obligatory attribute of the american character; we must ultimately be optimistic and have hope. Why is that useful? Or maybe more importantly, to whom is that useful? What is the point?

In my mind (and many a philosopher), cynicism is a very healthy, empowering response to a world whose institutional configuration is such that it will to fuck you over whenever it is expedient to do so.

Furthermore, the act of voting lends legitimacy to an institution that is clearly not legitimate. The institution is very obviously very corrupt. If you really want to change the "system" stop giving it legitimacy; i.e. be cynical, don't vote. The whole thing is a ruse. Boycott it .

Some may say, in a desperate attempt to avoid being cynical, "well, the national level is corrupt but we need to increase engagement at the community level via local elections ", or something like that. This is nothing more than rearranging the chairs on the deck of the titanic. And collecting signature isn't going to help anymore than handing out buckets on the titanic would.

So, to answer my own rhetorical question above, "to whom is it useful to not be cynical?" It is useful to those who want things to continue as they currently are.

So, be cynical. Don't vote. It is an empowering and healthy way to kinda say "fuck you" to the corrupt and not become corrupted yourself by legitimizing it. The best part about it is that you don't have to do anything.

Viva la paz (Hows that for a non cynical salutation?)

jrs , August 31, 2019 at 11:29 am

Uh this sounds like the ultimate allowing things to continue as they currently are, do you really imagine the powers that be are concerned about a low voting rate, and we have one, they don't care, they may even like it that way. Do you really imagine they care about some phantom like perceived legitimacy? Where is the evidence of that?

kiwi , August 31, 2019 at 12:08 pm

Politicians do care about staying in office and will respond on some issues that will cost them enough votes to get booted from office. But it has to be those particular issues in their own backyard; otherwise, they just kind of limp along with the lip service collecting their paychecks.

IMO, it is sheer idiocy to not vote. If you are a voter, politicians will pay some attention to you at least. If you don't vote, you don't even exist to them.

inode_buddha , August 31, 2019 at 7:37 am

"I don't think it should be legal at ALL to become a corporate lobbyist if you've served in Congress," said Ocasio-Cortez. "At minimum there should be a long wait period."
"If you are a member of Congress + leave, you shouldn't be allowed to turn right around&leverage your service for a lobbyist check.
I don't think it should be legal at ALL to become a corporate lobbyist if you've served in Congress."

–AOC, as reported by NakedCapitalism on May 31, 2019

Which is worse - bankers or terrorists , August 31, 2019 at 11:45 am

I bet she opens up her lobbying shop in December 2020.

inode_buddha , August 31, 2019 at 7:52 am

It isn't cynical if it is real. Truth is the absolute defense.

Bugs Bunny , August 31, 2019 at 7:58 am

A shrink friend once said "cynicism is the most logical reaction to despair".

Off The Street , August 31, 2019 at 10:52 am

I try to be despairing, but I can't keep up.
Attributed to a generation or two after Lily Tomlin's quote about cynicism.

Out of curiosity, would it be cynical to question that political scientist's grant funding or other sources of income? These days, I feel inclined to look at what I'll call the Sinclair Rule* , added to Betteridge's, Godwin's and all those other, ahem, modifications to what used to be an expectation that communication was more or less honest.

* Sinclair Rule, where you add a interpretive filter based on Upton's famous quote: It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.

jrs , August 31, 2019 at 11:43 am

It's good to look at funding sources. But it's kind of a slander to those who must work for a living when assuming it's paychecks (which we need to live in this system) that corrupt people.

If it's applied to the average working person, maybe it's often true, maybe it has a tendency to push in that direction, but if you think there are no workers that realize the industry they are working in might be destructive, that they may be exploited by such systems but have little choice etc. etc., come now there are working people who are politically aware and do see a larger picture, they just don't have a lot of power to change it much of the time. Does the average working person's salary depend on his not understanding though? No, of course not, it merely depends on him obeying. And obeying enough to keep a job, not always understanding, is what a paycheck buys.

timbers , August 31, 2019 at 7:57 am

With all the evidence of everyday life (airplanes, drug prices, health insurance, Wall Street, CEO pay, the workforce changes in the past 20 years if you've been working those years etc) this Greg better be careful as he might be seen as a Witch to be hanged and burned in Salem, Ma a few hundred years ago.

It's cynical to say it's cynical to believe the system is corrupt.

Greg Weiner is cynic, and his is using his cynicism to dismiss the political arguments of people he disagrees with.

MyMoneysNotGreenAnymore , August 31, 2019 at 8:17 am

And just this week, I found out I couldn't even buy a car unless I'd be willing to sign a mandatory binding arbitration agreement. I was ready to pay and sign all the paperwork, and they lay a document in front of me that reserves for the dealer the right to seek any remedy against me if I harm the dealer (pay with bad check, become delinquent on loan, fail to provide clean title on my trade); but forces me to accept mandatory binding arbitration, with damages limited to the value of the car, for anything the dealer might do wrong.

It is not cynical at all when even car dealers now want a permission slip for any harm they might do to me.

Donald , August 31, 2019 at 8:24 am

Three words -- climate change denial.

Okay, a few more. We are literally facing the possibility of a mass extinction in large part because of dishonesty on the par of oil companies, politicians, and people paid to make bad arguments.

Donald , August 31, 2019 at 8:35 am

A few more words

"Saddam Hussein has WMD's."

"Assad (and by implication Assad's forces alone) killed 500,000 Syrians."

"Israel is just defending itself."

I can't squeeze the dishonesty about the war in Yemen into a short slogan, but I know from personal experience that getting liberals to care when it was Obama's war was virtually impossible. Even under Trump it was hard, until Khashoggi's murder. On the part of politicians and think tanks this was corruption by Saudi money. With ordinary people it was the usual partisan tribal hypocrisy.

dearieme , August 31, 2019 at 11:11 am

Two words: Goebbels Warming.

pretzelattack , August 31, 2019 at 12:36 pm

a lot of gibberish in those 2 words, dearie. are you going to grace us with your keen scientific insights on the issue?

jfleni , August 31, 2019 at 8:30 am

Conclusion: Even before they dress in the AM, they S C R E A M,
G I M M E!!

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell , August 31, 2019 at 8:45 am

The motivator is " Gap Psychology ," the human desire to distance oneself from those below (on any scale), and to come nearer to those above.

The rich are rich because the Gap below them is wide, and the wider the Gap, the richer they are .

And here is the important point: There are two ways the rich widen the Gap: Either gain more for themselves or make sure those below have less.

That is why the rich promulgate the Big Lie that the federal government (and its agencies, Social Security and Medicare) is running short of dollars. The rich want to make sure that those below them don't gain more, as that would narrow the Gap.

Off The Street , August 31, 2019 at 10:56 am

Negative sum game, where one wins but the other has to lose more so the party of the first part feels even better about winning. There is an element of sadism, sociopathy and a few other behaviors that the current systems allow to be gamed even more profitably. If you build it, or lobby to have it built, they will come multiple times.

The Rev Kev , August 31, 2019 at 9:07 am

A successful society should be responsive to both threats and opportunities. Any major problems to that society are assessed and changes are made, usually begrudgingly, to adapt to the new situation. And this is where corruption comes into it. It short circuits the signals that a society receives so that it ignores serious threats and elevates ones that are relatively minor but which benefit a small segment of that society. If you want an example of this at work, back in 2016 you had about 40,000 Americans dying to opioids each and every year which was considered only a background issue. But a major issue about that time was who gets to use what toilets. Seriously. If it gets bad enough, a society gets overwhelmed by the problems that were ignored or were deferred to a later time. And I regret to say that the UK is going to learn this lesson in spades.

Ian Perkins , August 31, 2019 at 10:37 am

'Sanders has said that we live in a "corrupt political system designed to protect the wealthy and the powerful." Warren said it's a "rigged system that props up the rich and powerful and kicks dirt on everyone else."'
Yet the rest of the article focuses almost entirely on internal US shenanigans. When it comes to protecting wealth and power, George Kennan hit the nail on the head in 1948, with "we have about 50% of the world's wealth but only 6.3 of its population. This disparity is particularly great as between ourselves and the peoples of Asia. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships, which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity." This, which has underpinned US policy ever since, may not be corrupt in the sense of illegal, but it certainly seems corrupt in the sense of morally repugnant to me.

dearieme , August 31, 2019 at 11:16 am

Warren said it's a "rigged system that props up the rich and powerful and kicks dirt on everyone else."

Is she referring to the system of race privilege that she exploited by making a false claim to be a Cherokee, or some other rigged system?

Still, compared to some of the gangsters who have been president I suppose she's been pretty small time in her nefarious activities. So far as I know.

Susan the other` , August 31, 2019 at 12:07 pm

About Kennan's comment. That's interesting because no one questioned the word "wealth". Even tho' we had only 6.3% of the world's population we had 50% of the wealth. The point of that comment had to be that we should "spread the wealth" and we did do just that. Until we polluted the entire planet. I'd like some MMT person to take a long look at that attitude because it is so simplistic. And not like George Kennan at all who was sophisticated to the bone. But that's just more proof of a bred-in-the-bone ignorance about what money really is. In this case Kennan was talking about money, not wealth. He never asked Nepal for advice on gross national happiness, etc. Nor did he calculate the enormous debt burden we would incur for our unregulated use and abuse of the environment. That debt most certainly offsets any "wealth" that happened.

shinola , August 31, 2019 at 11:09 am

Approaching from the opposite direction, if someone were to say "I sincerely believe that the USA has the most open & honest political system and the fairest economic system in human history" would you not think that person to be incredibly naive (or, cynically, a liar)?

There has been, for at least the last couple of decades. a determined effort to do away with corruption – by defining it away. "Citizens United" is perhaps the most glaring example but the effort is ongoing; that Weiner op-ed is a good current example.

jef , August 31, 2019 at 11:34 am

What is cynical is everyone's response when point out that the system is corrupt. They all say " always has been, always will be so just deal with it ".

Susan the other` , August 31, 2019 at 12:14 pm

Strawmannirg has got to be the most cynical behavior in the world. Weiner is the cynic. I think Liz's "the system is rigged " comment invites discussion. It is not a closed door at all. It is a plea for good capitalism. Which most people assume is possible. It's time to define just what kind of capitalism will work and what it needs to continue to be, or finally become, a useful economic ideology. High time.

Susan the other` , August 31, 2019 at 12:25 pm

Another thing. Look how irrational the world, which is now awash in money, has become over lack of liquidity. There's a big push now to achieve an optimum flow of money by speeding up transaction time. The Fed is in the midst of designing a new real-time digital payments system. A speedy accounting and record of everything. Which sounds like a very good idea.

But the predators are busy keeping pace – witness the frantic grab by Facebook with Libra. Libra is cynical. To say the least. The whole thing a few days ago on the design of Libra was frightening because Libra has not slowed down; it has filed it's private corporation papers in Switzerland and is working toward a goal of becoming a private currency – backed by sovereign money no less! Twisted. So there's a good discussion begging to be heard: The legitimate Federal Reserve v. Libra. The reason we are not having this discussion is because the elite are hard-core cynics.